Chilean Chapter

ERA CLIM ACRE Chile Coordinator
Mr Jorge Guzman
-Gutierrez (
Scott Polar Research Institute-University of Cambridge, UK)

Chilean Chapter of ACRE:  Funder: EC FP7 Project: Between April-May 2009 and Oct-Nov 2010, three visits to Chile were undertaken by ACRE participants with the intention of exploring the existing conditions and to extend to that country the potential to be part of the international Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) initiative.  The second and third visits were funded via Howard Diamond at the US GCOS Office. Most recently, ACRE’s participation in a successful revamped ECMWF led EC FP7 proposal called ERA-CLIM has provided the basis for further funding needed to develop this enterprise. The Direccion Meteorologica de Chile (DMC) will be a partner in this EC FP7 project together with the involvement of the new Centro para el Cambio Global, Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) and the University of Chile (Department of Geophysics) in Santiago.


From 25 October to 5 November, Dr. Clive Wilkinson (NOAA-RECLAIM), Ms. Sally Wilkinson (UEA), and Jorge Guzman (SPRI-University of Cambridge) paid another visit to Chile this time intended to accomplish the three following goals:

a) To obtain from the Chilean government the issuing of an ad hoc legal document to validate Dirección Meteorológica de Chile (DMC), in order to receive from the European Commission the funds allocated to the Chilean chapter of the FP7 Project ERA CLIM ( );

b) To finalize an Inventory of Sources for a  National Digital Database of Meteorological and Geo-Scientific Records for the Study of the History of Climate and Climate Change in Terrestrial and Maritime Areas of Chile: 1860-2010.

c) To finalize articulating a cooperation system with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Environment and local universities, intended to prepare the implementation of ERA CLIM.

The contacts sustained and the results obtained are the following:

1. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

·        Two consecutive working meetings were held with this Ministry which was represented by the Director for Environmental, Maritime and Polar Affairs, and the Head of the Department for Environmental Affairs and their staff. They were informed in detail  about ERA CLIM goals and potential for supporting the Chilean government in designing and implementing environmental policies.  

·        MFA ensured its full support to ERA CLIM. It also accepted our proposal to socialize the cooperation with ERA CLIM and ACRE Initiative partners during the preparatory meetings for the next summit of the Convention on Climate Change (CCC). The idea would be to introduce this forum with a new approach for the assessment of climate change in all geographical areas of Chile.

·        MFA proposed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with ERA CLIM and ACRE partners to establish a medium and long term cooperation framework intended to assist Chilean public services into reinforcing their capabilities for designing and implementing public policies in the fields of the assessment, adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

·        MFA and MoE (which attended these meetings with an observer) recognized that only after the results and assessments of ERA CLIM can be available, the government will be enabled to produce proper policies for conservation, sustainable use of the natural resources and committing the Chilean effort for tackling climate change globally.

·        MFA informed that the so-called Interministerial Committee on Climate Change will meet by late November, and, in this view,  asked a proposal from ERA CLIM ACRE Chile to establish a methodology of work which could include the establishment of the National Fund of Climate Change from which financial resources could be available in medium term for funding Chilean research in entities participating in the project.


2. Ministry of Defence (MoD).

·        Dr Guzman was received by the Chief of Cabinet of the Deputy Minister, who immediately gave orders to issue an ad hoc legal document to be mailed to European Commission; this document will clearly explain that DMC is a legal entity, fully authorized to participate in ERA CLIM activities.

·        It is possible that the Minister of Defence himself would like to participate in the signature of the corresponding ERA CLIM Contract with the EC.



This Ministry exists since 1 October 2010.

Two consecutive meetings were held with the Head of the Department of Climate Change and her staff. Drs Guzman and Wilkinson agreed the following.

·        MoE is now a formal partner of ERA CLIM.

·        MoE accepted our proposal to transform ERA CLIM into a main referential scientific tool to support the implementation of the National Plan of Climate Change 2008-2012.

·        This Ministry will establish the priorities on which digitalization and re-analysis of the data included in our Inventory should be carried on.

·        Preliminarily, MoE indicated that certain areas of Northern and Central Chile should be considered priorities, in view of the serious shortage of fresh water.

·        MoE will enclose a document identifying priorities and sensitive areas.

·        MoE is highly interested in participating and supporting a cooperation system intended to enable civil servants to get access to Master and PhD research in ERA CLIM and ACRE Initiative partners' academic programs. All areas linked to their responsibilities with the National Plan of Climate Change are of interest to the Chilean side.

·        MoE agrees with MFA regarding ERA CLIM should be instrumental for establishing the Fund of Climate Change included in the above mentioned National Plan. This Fund should enable MoE to fund research in academic programs in  ERA CLIM and ACRE Initiative entities.

4. Dirección Meteorológica de Chile (DMC).

·        Drs Guzman and Wilkinson met again with Dr. Jorge Carrasco, Deputy National Director and Member of IPCC. They agreed the procedures to be followed with MFA and MoE (see above).

·        In DMC Archives the inventory of terrestrial sources was completed. This data is ready to be used to guide a digitalization plan.

·        Additionally, an important amount of data collected by the Chilean Navy was found. This data was immediately catalogued.

5. Chilean Navy.

·        A new working visit was paid to the Records of the Hydrographical and Oceanographic Service (SHOA), where printed and manuscript material to be digitalized was identified (Meteorological tables; reports of hydrographical surveys, tides tables, bathymetries produced after 1870, associated cartography, etc).

·        A full list is about to be produced by the Curator of the Archive.

·        The lighthouses of Punta Delgada (established in 1901) and Punta Dúngenes (established in 1899 and located in the Easternmost point of the Strait of Magellan) were visited. Facilities were inspected to identify procedures and instruments used.

·        Personnel of these Chilean Navy facilities commented several irregular situations connected with the wind regime in the area. This expert personnel underlined the inexistence of a prevailing wind and the occurrence of unusual eastern gales with winds of until 110 nuts. These remarks were confirmed by Captains of ships operating in this sector of the Strait of Magellan.

6. University of Chile.

·        Drs Guzman and Wilkinson met Prof. Dr. Patricio Aceituno, Vice-Chancellor and former member of IPCC.

·        Dr. Aceituno reiterated his interest in ERA CLIM, and ensured full participation of his University.

·        University of Chile could cooperate with other ERA CLIM partners in designing and  implementing a Chilean citizen science program to support the digitisation of the available data. The reference is, in this field, the initiative.

7. University of Magellan (Punta Arenas).

·        This University based in Punta Arenas expressed its interest in joining ERA CLIM ACRE Chile by offering its facilities and by organizing groups of undergraduate students to cooperate with the digitalization of local data.

·        Magellan University students will work with recovered data to prepare their respective dissertations; The Schools so far involved are those of History and Climatology.

·        In an informal talk the Chancellor of the University manifested his interest in using ERA CLIM as a framework for upgrading the academic records of his staff in the fields of humanities and Earth sciences.

8. DUOC, Catholic University (Santiago).

·        Drs Guzman and Wilkinson met the heads of the Department of Environmental Sciences who manifested their highest interest in joining ERA CLIM efforts.

·        They offered the facilities of this institution as well as to organize groups of undergraduate students to dedicate their dissertations to work with data digitalized by the project.

·        These groups of DUOC students will cooperate with the tasks of complete the cataloguing and digitalization of the data preserved at DMC archive.

9. Catholic University of Valparaíso.

·        During a previous visit to Chile ACRE partners had contacted this university.

·        Though, this entity has not so far joined ERA CLIM ACRE Chile, two graduate students have expressed their intention to dedicate their master dissertations to the history of fresh water availability in Northern Chile.

·        This research will be developed using ERA CLIM recovered data combined with other historical sources and will be intended to contribute to the assessment initiated by the government to implement policies for distribution and conservation of water bodies.

10. MFA-SPRI University of Cambridge.

·        During there stay in Chile, Drs Guzman and Wilkinson met with Prof. Dr. Julian Dowdeswell, Director for SPRI, who had travelled with the ACRE party during a previous visit (March 2009).

·        Drs Guzman and Wilkinson coordinated a talk on Arctic Climate Change offered by  Dr. Dowdeswell at MFA. On this occasion Drs Guzman and Wilkinson met the Director for Environmental, Maritime and Polar Affairs, and the Head of the Department for Environmental Affairs, who suggested University of Cambridge to join the system of cooperation with ERA CLIM ACRE Chile.

·        Additionally, MFA expressed its interest in having a medium and long term cooperation with Cambridge University, and invited SPRI to join an Antarctic operation intended for February 2011 and dedicated to study the collapse of certain glaciers masses in the southern part of the Antarctic Peninsula.

11. National Archive (Archivo de la Administración, Santiago).

·        Drs Guzman and Wilkinson established contact with the Archivist who gently provided us with a general catalogue.

·        In this it is possible to verify that certain meteorological and geo-scientific data not present in DMC or in Chilean Navy records is, in fact, in this archive.

·        Drs Guzman and Wilkinson agreed to explore the possibility of having a group of students working with a retired and experienced archivist to produce an inventory of sources suitable to digitalized by ERA CLIM.


·        The goals listed on page 1 have been accomplished.

·        The Inventory of sources is reasonably completed and ready for use.

·        Chilean partner entities are ready for implementing ERA CLIM and start the digitalization the available data.

·        Drs Guzman and Wilkinson have identified the technical requirements of each entity for starting digitalization asap.

·        The Chilean government is keen on using its experience with the project to provide a new profile to its participation in CCC activities, starting with the summit to be held later this month in Cancún, México.

·        The Chilean MoD should be posting a legal document to the European Commission to allow the funds allocated to be transferred to DMC; this should enable us to formally start the project on 1 January 2011.

·        Together with DMC, Drs Guzman and Wilkinson agreed to explore the possibility of having a first ERA CLIM ACRE Chile meeting.


Jorge G. Guzmán

ERA CLIM ACRE Chile Coordinator

SPRI-University of Cambridge.

Visit to Chile during May 2010

Visit to Chile during late April-early May 2009

Visit to Chile by Prof. Julian Dowdeswell (Director, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University), Dr. Rob Allan (ACRE Project Manager, Met Office Hadley Centre), Dr. Clive Wilkinson (RECLAIM, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia), Ms. Catharine Ward (Project Manager, Corral [Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks]) and Mr. Jorge Guzman (Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University).


Between the 24th of April and the 8th of May (Julian Dowdeswell and Rob Allan to 29/4 only), a visit to Chile was undertaken by the above personnel with the intention to explore the existing conditions and to extend to this country the potential to be part of the international Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) initiative.

 The visit was extremely successful.

 The activity was possible thanks to the invitation of the Chilean Ministry of Defence (MoD) and financial support from the British Embassy in Santiago.

 The respective program was coordinated with the British Embassy and with the cabinet of the Minister of Defence. The program included contacts with the institutions listed below.

 Centro para el Cambio Global, Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC).  This Centre was formally opened the day before our arrival. The Centre works with the participation of the faculties of Agronomy, Biology, Engineering and Economy. Immediately after our arrival, we met Dr. Francisco Meza (Director) and Dr. Sebastian Vicuna (PoC with ACRE) from the Centre. During our conversations, these scientists confirmed the interest of their University in joining ACRE and exploring areas and modalities for future cooperation. Together with Dr. Meza, during the visit, we made contacts with the local media. 

Hydrographical and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy, SHOA ( It was possible to confirm that SHOA has important scientific capabilities relevant to ACRE’s international activities. This Service has a group of experts and collections of geo-data that should make it possible for the extension of ACRE Chile into the domains of marine geology and glaciology for the study of climate change in the southernmost regions of Chile.  Since 1873, SHOA has performed scientific surveys of the Chilean coasts and its archive preserves all records which emanated from any national or international geo-scientific survey of Chilean waters. We met the Director of SHOA, Captain Mariano Rojas, and the Head of Department of Oceanography, Captain Andres Enriquez (PoC for ACRE Chile). Detailed discussions between Prof. Dowdeswell and the swath mapping team at SHOA focussed on the swath-bathymetric records already acquired from a number of Chilean fjords. An excellent acquisition, processing and digital manipulation suite exists in SHOA. This last Department has also been directly involved in the preparation of a Chilean submission on the external limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 miles to the United Nations and, accordingly, it has advanced capabilities to perform studies in the disciplines mentioned above. SHOA works with two Chilean Navy vessels equipped with swath technologies. Captain Rojas indicated the interest of SHOA in joining ACRE, and asked Captain Enriquez to maintain the contact to develop this participation.  SHOA directly depends on the Commander in Chief of the Navy and the results of our conversations have already been submitted to this authority.

 Museo Naval y Marítimo (  After a brief visit on the 27th of April, and in the following days, Dr. Wilkinson, Ms. Ward and Mr. Guzman were able to investigate the collection of documents existing in the archive of this museum. The collection includes more than 6.000 logbooks that cover the period 1862-1960, and contains meteorological information for the entire Chilean maritime area. An additional collection of modern logbooks exists, but to access them special permission would be required. The Chilean Navy logbooks contain abundant meteo-data regularly recorded every 4 hours. Some logbooks correspond to XIX century proper scientific surveys of areas like the Falkland Islands, Strait of Magellan and the South and North Pacific Ocean. The information includes parameters like pressure, temperature and density of the sea. A complete report on the potential of these collections will be prepared by Dr. Wilkinson and Ms. Ward. These records represent a major data asset for the purpose of ACRE since they describe the behaviour of the atmosphere in a wide area of the Southern Hemisphere.

 Servicio Meteorológico de la Armada ( We met the Head of this service, Captain Gonzalo Espinoza, who directly depends of the Admiral in charge of coastal services and control of the maritime traffic in the Chilean Sea (DIRECTEMAR: Captain Espinoza reassured the interest of his division to join ACRE and, as a consequence, he invited the delegation to pay a visit to different facilities under his responsibility. He also presented a document where the information corresponding to the Navy networks of meteorological stations is summarized (including a network of lighthouses).  This information covers the entire Chilean coast and oceanic possession for most of the XX century and it is complementary to the information preserved in Santiago by MeteoChile.

 Dirección Meteorológica de Chile, MeteoChile ( In this service of the Chilean Air Force (FACH), the delegation was received by Dr. Jorge Carrasco, Deputy Director for Operative Affairs. Dr. Carrasco - a scientist with expertise in Antarctic meteorology - confirmed the interest and disposition of his service to join ACRE and, subsequently, he invited the visitors to view the archives where meteo-data covering the period 1860-2009 are preserved.  Additional data for a brief period prior to 1860 has been scanned by the Departamento de Geofísica, Universidad de Chile (, but needs to be digitised. Dr. Carrasco emphasized the interest of his service in participating in a system of exchange of experts with other meteorological services participating in ACRE. He also expressed the interest of MeteoChile in obtaining support from the project to provide its archive with the technological tools that could enable the digitalisation of its large collection of historical records, especially hard copy continuous recording charts from barographs, thermographs and the like.

 Departamento de Geofísica, Universidad de Chile (  Dr. Allan had discussions with Prof. Patricio Aceituno, a colleague and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Physcial and Mathematical Sciences about his Faculty being involved in ACRE.  Prof. Aceituno indicated that this would be most desirable, and is keen to develop a potential collaboration and be part of ACRE Chile.

 Chilean Board for Science and Technology, CONICYT ( ). We were received by the Chief of the Cabinet of the President of the Board who was accompanied by the Head of the Department of Scholarships and the officer in charge of the United Kingdom desk, Ms. Sofia Morales. Ms Morales was designed PoC for the ACRE initiative.  CONICYT's officers expressed the interest of the Board in supporting the project and explained that once a formal proposal could be available, they would be in position to advise about possible funding. They explained that no special deadline for projects in the field of environment and climate change exists. They provided a resume with information about the system employed by CONICYT for funding research projects. Under this document, it appears that ACRE Chile should be included as an activity of the Strategic Pillar II: Development of the Scientific and Technological Base to be covered by a fund entitled FONDEF. This fund is addressed to support projects with private participation or public interest, or Associate Research Program (groups and centres of research) or ad-hoc International cooperation and joint project. During 2009, FONDEF has been provided with USD.131 millions to support scientific research. It is important to recall that the Chilean officers explained that an ad-hoc agreement with ACRE could be possible.

 National Commission of Environment, CONAMA ( ).  This Commission is the acting Ministry of Environment (presently being created by the government). The delegation met Ms. Caludia Ferreiro, officer in charge of defining and implementing the National Action Plan for Climate Change (approved in 2008). Ms. Ferreiro indicated that the entire disposition of her service would be interested in joining ACRE and to obtain from the project substantive support for the implementation of the above mentioned Plan. Through the National Action Plan for Climate Change, Chile aims to respond to its international obligations in the field of environment, conservation and climate change, in particular with the recommendations of the IPCC. This Plan includes the production of an assessment about how climate change could affect the different regions and productive activities in Chile.  CONAMA is also responsible - together with the Ministry of Public Works - for the production of a national inventory of glaciers and fresh water. Ms. Ferreiro expressed her interest in exploring, together with CONICYT, modalities to participate in the funding of the Chilean chapter of ACRE.

 Other contacts.

 MFA, Direction of National Borders and Limits ( In this office Prof. Dowdeswell offered a lecture on Ice and Climate Change which was attended by well-known Chilean scientists. During the event, a representative of the Chilean oil company (ENAP) informed Prof. Dowdeswell about the existence of geo-data for the southernmost area of Chile. This data was recently collected while the mentioned company was prospecting for natural gas. This data could be available for ACRE Chile.

MFA, Division for Environmental Affairs ( A copy of the working document approved by the Chilean Ministry of Defence was presented to this entity, which expressed its interest in supporting the project in the context of the political bilateral relation between the UK and Chile.

 British Embassy of Chile. His Excellency the British Ambassador Howard Drake attended a conference offered by the group at the National Academy for Political and Strategic Studies (ANEPE) [see report below]. The Ambassador informed the group about the interest of his government in reinforcing the bilateral relation with Chile in the field of climate change. The British Ambassador also informed the group about the interest of certain companies, whose representatives accompanied HRH the Prince of Wales during a recent visit to Chile, in the reinforcement of the relation between the two countries in the field of environmental conservation.

 Chilean National Archive ( After the departure of Prof. Dowdeswell and Dr. Allan back to the UK, Dr. Wilkinson, Ms. Ward and Mr. Guzman met the Director for the Chilean National Archive who, after being briefed about the project, immediately expressed his interest in being part of ACRE. The Director provided instructions to his services to grant the delegation access to all-important collections of historical documents. This data would importantly complement the records existing in MeteoChile and in the already mentioned entities of the Chilean Navy. The collections contain records of early XVII and XVIII century scientific surveys of the South American and South Pacific coast, which, together with the information preserved by the Naval Museum, represent major asset for ACRE. Dr. Wilkinson and Ms. Ward will prepare a report on the importance of these collections.

 Pending contacts.

 Instituto Geográfico Militar, IGM ( This is an important office of cartography and  geological survey that was not included initially. It is a Department of the Chilean Army and must be considered in any new activity in Chile. The records of IGM are specially rich and important to any study of the glaciology of the Southern Chilean Andes. A preliminary contact has been established.


 The visit proved to be extremely successful because:

a)     It was possible to meet with selected counterparts and institutions in Chile and to verify their respective capabilities.

b)     Each one of the contacted entities expressed interest and disposition to participate and contribute to a Chilean chapter of ACRE.

c)      It was possible to verify the existence of collections of historical and geo-scientific data that could make possible an ACRE Chile.   These data would enable the project to produce a comprehensive assessment of climate variability and change in the Chilean region, vital both for the government and for the private sector.

d)     The quality of the data existing in Chile would permit the project to refer both to South American areas as a large extension of the South Pacific Ocean.

e)     The possibility of extending the study and assessment to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica exists, but it has to be considered together with both governments.

f)      The Board of Science and Technology and CONAMA (Ministry of Environment) manifested their interest in continue the dialogue to identify possible sources to fund the project.


 In order to continue the dialogue and develop the project, it would be useful to consider the following:

 a) To invite to an executive meeting those Chilean entities whose participation is critical for the funding and implementation of the project. This meeting should take place in the UK and should bring together one representative (each) of: CONICYT, CONAMA, PUC, SHOA and the Chilean Ministry of Defence. The participants should produce a formal document to establish both funding possibilities and potentials and to create the organizational and scientific structure of the project. In order to take advantage of the moment, this meeting should take place before the end of summer, probably at the Met Office in Exeter. It could also be useful to consider the participation of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

 b) The above executive meeting should decide whether it would be pertinent to proceed to invite to a working meeting all entities interested in participating in ACRE Chile. This meeting should take place before the end of the year in a place to be established. The meeting should aim to produce a road map for the project.

Chilean media reports

La Tercera  Sábado 2 de mayo de 2009

El Mercurio 3rd May 2009

Important environmental project lands in Chile

Many important business have arrived in Chile during the last years, attracted by political and financial stability in the country. But not only economy attracts foreign investment.

Last Friday, 24th five important environmental scientists from Hadley Center (the most important center studying climate change in the UK), Polar Research Institute (Cambridge University), NOAA (USA) and the UK Maritime Museum. Their goal was to establish in Chile an ACRE chapter. ACRE is an institution (SIC) which brings together scientific centers from all over the world pursuing the compilation of world's climate history for the last 250 years as tool to be used in the undestanding of today's climate related phenomena.

"The idea is to bring to Chile the technology and knowledge developed for this kind of activities. We want to generate exchanges between Chile and England, so it becomes a situation", explains Jorge Guzmán, a Chilean working at the Polar Research Institute since 2003 and future project coordinator. He claims that, despite the existence of other candidates, Chile will be the first country in South America to host this project as "data availability will be ensured"

ACRE's associated center in this mission will be the Center on Global Change, from the Catholic University. Other involved institutions will be the Chilean Meteorological Direction, the Army Meteorological Direction, the Army Meteorological and Hydrological Service and the Naval Museum. British scientists will seek funded projects together with the Chilean scientists.

ANEPE  Ministerio de Defensa Nacional

Rob Allan,
Nov 14, 2010, 1:51 AM