Dear STAMAsters,

In the latest What's New in the ICA - April 1997, there was an item that
deserved a little individual attention. Those who are interested should
request a copy of the report from the ICA Secretariat and look out for the
forthcoming article about the project.

The questions is: Is there a way that we as sci-tech archivists can help
with this project? The way might become clearer when we see the report and
the article.

Cheers ... Gavan

 The Value of Archives

 Archives are usually seen as having an evidential and an informational
value. Less well known is their scientific value and in particular the
light they can throw on the environment. This is the subject of ARCHISS,
the project to search archives for data relevant to climate history.
Meteorologists and climatologists are interested in tracing the patterns of
past weather in order to see whether the global warming of the last few
years is a new phenomenon, or just part of the normal cycles in the earth's
climate. The aim of ARCHISS is to extend knowledge of world climate history
from archive sources, particularly those that contain "proxy data", for
example documents recording unusual weather events, poor harvests and so
on. Attention has recently focused on archives on Central and South
America, which may hold the key to a better understanding of an important
climatic movement known as ENSO, or El Niņo Southern Oscillation. This
refers to changes in the prevailing wind patterns on the west coast of
South America which appear to have profound effects on global climate. So
far, successful searches have been carried out in the national archives in
Mexico and Cuba, and further work is planned in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and
Chile. A full report on the project is available from the Secretariat and
there will be an article in a forthcoming issue of the ICA Bulletin.
ARCHISS is a joint venture of ICA, the World Meteorological Organisation
and UNESCO's Division of Water Sciences. 

*   Gavan McCarthy - Director                          
*    Australian Science Archives Project                         
*     University of Melbourne                                         
*       203 Bouverie Street
*        Carlton, Vic. 3053 Australia                                  
*         gavan@asap.unimelb.edu.au                             
*          Phone: +61 3 9344 9287 Fax: +61 3 9349 4630
*           ASAPWeb! on http://www.asap.unimelb.edu.au/          
* ------->Recovering Science and Technology in Australia