Reconstructing The Trajectory of The August 1680 Hurricane From Contemporary Records

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This paper draws on a range of contemporary documentary evidence from the New and Old Worlds as well as from the oceanic regions to reconstruct the trajectory and intensity of an Atlantic hurricane from August 1680. In doing so, it offers the example of one of the earliest and most comprehensive hurricane reconstructions thus far attempted. The source material includes evidence from land-based observers and some of the earliest examples of instrumental barometric data from the Caribbean and from Europe; importantly, it also calls on the written accounts offered in ships' logbooks from various parts of the Atlantic. The latter provide the opportunity of tracking the system across the otherwise data-deficient areas of the North Atlantic as it recurved toward Europe. The findings are of intrinsic interest in documenting a notable historical event. They also offer a methodological model of how such a variety of documentary sources can be drawn together and used to identify, track, and reconstruct such events from the distant past and thereby improve the chronology of hurricanes and make more reliable our interpretation of their changing frequencies.

University of Sunderland, Sunderland, United Kingdom

Dto. Física de la Tierra II, Facultad de CC Físicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaruam Madrid, Spain

Departamento de Fisica Aplicada, Escuela Politecnica, Universidad de Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain

Elkridge, Maryland

Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Dennis Wheeler, School of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, Priestman Building, Sunderland SRI 3PZ, United Kingdom. E-mail: dennis.wheeler@sunderland.ac.uk

This paper draws on a range of contemporary documentary evidence from the New and Old Worlds as well as from the oceanic regions to reconstruct the trajectory and intensity of an Atlantic hurricane from August 1680. In doing so, it offers the example of one of the earliest and most comprehensive hurricane reconstructions thus far attempted. The source material includes evidence from land-based observers and some of the earliest examples of instrumental barometric data from the Caribbean and from Europe; importantly, it also calls on the written accounts offered in ships' logbooks from various parts of the Atlantic. The latter provide the opportunity of tracking the system across the otherwise data-deficient areas of the North Atlantic as it recurved toward Europe. The findings are of intrinsic interest in documenting a notable historical event. They also offer a methodological model of how such a variety of documentary sources can be drawn together and used to identify, track, and reconstruct such events from the distant past and thereby improve the chronology of hurricanes and make more reliable our interpretation of their changing frequencies.

University of Sunderland, Sunderland, United Kingdom

Dto. Física de la Tierra II, Facultad de CC Físicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaruam Madrid, Spain

Departamento de Fisica Aplicada, Escuela Politecnica, Universidad de Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain

Elkridge, Maryland

Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Dennis Wheeler, School of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, Priestman Building, Sunderland SRI 3PZ, United Kingdom. E-mail: dennis.wheeler@sunderland.ac.uk
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