Sea surface temperature (SST) is of paramount importance for comprehending ocean dynamics and hence the Earth's climate system. Accordingly, it is also the most measured oceanographic parameter. However, until the end of the XIX century, no continuous time series of SST seems to exist, with most of the available data deriving from measurements on ships. Here, we present a continuous digitalized record of surface water measurements originally written in a book published in 1853. The measurements were retrieved thrice daily in the Venice lagoon, in the northeastern part of the Italian peninsula, from June to August 1851 and 1852. To the best of our knowledge, these data constitute the oldest time series of the entire world ocean. The measurements were performed by immersing a Reaumur thermometer a few meters deep in the lagoon water at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., and 8 p.m. Despite several limitations affecting these data (e.g., lacking information regarding the exact water depth where measurements were performed and instrumental metadata), they are of utmost significance, as they put many decades backward the date of the development of a fundamental aspect of oceanographic observations. Moreover, the data were collected close to the Punta della Salute site, where actual sea water temperature measurements have been performed since 2002. Therefore, a unique comparison between surface water temperatures within the Lagoon of Venice across three centuries is possible.

Mid-XIX Century Estuary SST Time Series Recorded in the Venice Lagoon

Rubinetti, S;Zanchettin, D
;
Gazzola, K;Rubino, A
2022-01-01

Abstract

Sea surface temperature (SST) is of paramount importance for comprehending ocean dynamics and hence the Earth's climate system. Accordingly, it is also the most measured oceanographic parameter. However, until the end of the XIX century, no continuous time series of SST seems to exist, with most of the available data deriving from measurements on ships. Here, we present a continuous digitalized record of surface water measurements originally written in a book published in 1853. The measurements were retrieved thrice daily in the Venice lagoon, in the northeastern part of the Italian peninsula, from June to August 1851 and 1852. To the best of our knowledge, these data constitute the oldest time series of the entire world ocean. The measurements were performed by immersing a Reaumur thermometer a few meters deep in the lagoon water at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., and 8 p.m. Despite several limitations affecting these data (e.g., lacking information regarding the exact water depth where measurements were performed and instrumental metadata), they are of utmost significance, as they put many decades backward the date of the development of a fundamental aspect of oceanographic observations. Moreover, the data were collected close to the Punta della Salute site, where actual sea water temperature measurements have been performed since 2002. Therefore, a unique comparison between surface water temperatures within the Lagoon of Venice across three centuries is possible.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5010840
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