The Early Canada Environmental Data project is launching a series of new tools and updated webpages to encourage and facilitate research into Canadian climate history.
1) Searchable Reference Database: This database includes references to source materials found in archives across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom that can be used for the reconstruction of past climates. In other words, most of the references you will find here are to materials that have regular observations of the weather and often to its broader environmental, social, and economic effects. Sometimes these are instrumental observations (e.g. -10° C, wind from the North), sometimes they are descriptive (cold, windy, squally). Most of the materials are in either English or French. Most of the materials are not available online but require that you visit an archive. The database also includes a separate tab to search our weather datasets. These datasets are from archival materials that have been digitised. We hope to add further datasets in future, so if you have data that you wish to contribute, please let us know.
2) Primary Documents on Flickr: This is a collection of archival materials held at the National Meteorological Library and Archives in Devon, Exeter, UK. The documents have been photographed and high resolution copies are available for public use via our flickr stream. The materials include both complete documents (e.g. Climatological Returns for Fort Simpson, 1849-1851; Monthly Weather Maps for Canada 1895-1910) and samples of larger documents (many of the other climatological returns are only sample pages from bound volumes). The material covers all of Canada, and sometimes parts of the United States and is mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
4) We have also updated our other resources, adding new links to online Data Sets andVisual Materials, and posting the exhibit panels from the Natures Past Exhibit and Lecture Series held in Edmonton, Alberta in 2010.
5) Unsurprisingly, the Major Canadian Archival Collections, including descriptions of federal government resources, materials from the HBC, various missionary groups, and the British Royal Navy remain essentially unchanged. Similarly, for Full Text Sources available online, Early Canadiana Online and the publications of the Champlain Society remain the most important sources of primary materials.
We always welcome new materials, links, datasets as well as comments or corrections regarding the materials we have made available to date. Please contact me, Liza Piper firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments regarding these pages or questions about researching Canadian climate history.
I also want to thank all of those who have contributed to this project and to our partners, in particular the Provincial Archives of Alberta, the McCord Museum, and Library and Archives Canada who have made important resources available for this site.
Liza Piper is Associate Professor at the University of Alberta and a member of the NiCHE Executive
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