Log books and the law of storms: maritime meteorology and the British Admiralty in the Nineteenth Century

Naylor, S. (2015) Log books and the law of storms: maritime meteorology and the British Admiralty in the Nineteenth Century. Isis, 106(4), pp. 771-797. (doi: 10.1086/684641)

107685.pdf - Accepted Version



This paper contributes to debates about the relationship between science and the military by examining the British Admiralty’s participation in meteorological projects in the first half of the nineteenth century. It focuses on attempts to transform Royal Naval log books into standardized meteorological registers that would be of use to both science and the state. The paper begins with a discussion of Admiralty Hydrographer, Francis Beaufort, who promoted the use of standardized systems for the observation of the weather at sea. It then examines the application of ships’ logs to the science of storms. The paper focuses on the Army Engineer, William Reid, who studied hurricanes while stationed in Barbados and Bermuda. Reid was instrumental in persuading the Admiralty to implement a naval meteorological policy, something the Admiralty Hydrographer had struggled to achieve. The paper uses the reception and adoption of work on storms at sea to reflect on the means and ends of maritime meteorology in the mid-nineteenth century.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Naylor, Professor Simon
Authors: Naylor, S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Isis
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN (Online):1545-6994
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 University of Chicago Press
First Published:First published in Isis 106(4):771-797
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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