Citizen science project calls for volunteers

A new citizen science project needs the public’s help to recover data from historic tide gauge ledgers from the North West of England and convert it into usable data by scientists.

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is looking for volunteers to view images of hand-written ledgers and pop figures into the corresponding columns on an online form.

“Around three million people live near the coast in the UK, and with global sea level rising, we need long records to be able to investigate how local tides and sea level are changing. One way this can be done is by recovering data from old documents. In this project, we are trying to convert data from old tide gauge ledgers from two locations in the North West of England into data usable by scientists,” says Elizabeth Bradshaw who is NOC’s marine data manager, and looks after the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) dataset.

The first ledgers, comprising of around 16,000 pages, focus on two locations: George’s Pier in Liverpool, now the site of the Cunard Building, and Hilbre Island, a tidal island on the Wirral peninsula.

The ledgers were written in the 19th century using values read from charts. These charts were produced by tide gauges, which automatically recorded the state of the tide. There are over 200 ledgers in the archives at the National Oceanography Centre.

NOC’s Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) dataset is used globally to study climate change and sea level rise by many organisations including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Find out more about volunteering.

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