Gold rush-era logbooks help students track climate change

Yukon College math students applied statistical analysis formulas to weather records kept by gold rush-era steamboat captains and railway station managers to look for climate change clues.

Yukon students analyse records kept by steamboat captains and railway station managers

Yukon College math students applied statistical analysis formulas to Gold Rush-era weather records to look for climate change clues. (CBC)

Students at Yukon College have found clues on climate change by mining Klondike Gold Rush-era information.

Math students at the college applied statistical analysis formulas to weather records in logbooks jotted down by steamboat captains and railway station managers.

"For Carmacks, every month is having a warming trend," said student Adam Mickey. "Carmacks has had some very major increases. February is 11.86 degrees over a hundred years."

The weather records kept by White Pass and Yukon Route steamboat captains and railway station managers are now at the Yukon Archives. (CBC)

While students found evidence of some surprising warming they also discovered cooling trends through some winter months and a shift towards longer spring and fall seasons.

Instructor Mark Shumelda says the student work is solid.

"The average temperatures of many months is clearly increasing and this was shown with a wide variety of data so there could be no mistake as to the overall trend."

The White Pass and Yukon Railway records and log books were made available to students through the Yukon Archives.