Unearthing Australia’s climate history

Climate History Australia is a landmark initiative to reconstruct Australian climate over past centuries.

Using historical records, our team pieces together past climate variability and extremes to understand their influence on Australian society over time. Understanding the past helps scientists estimate Australia’s vulnerability to continued climate change.

Our researchers won the 2014 Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research – informally known as the ‘Oscars of Australian Science’ – for reconstructing south-eastern Australian climate over the past 1000 years.

From 8 September to 24 November, 2020, we ran a citizen science project to develop Australia’s longest daily weather record. There’s more detail in the video below. We’ll be launching another citizen science project in early-2021. Click here to sign up to our e-newsletter, so you’ll be notified when we launch this project.

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What we’ve learnt about Australia’s climate history

This year our team completed a pilot citizen science project with over 1,000 volunteers, developed Australia’s longest daily weather record, analysed previously unknown weather extremes from the 19th century, and reached at least 1.6 million people through media coverage.  Here’s an outline of our achievements this year and a summary of what we’ve learnt so … Continue reading What we’ve learnt about Australia’s climate history

Previously unknown weather extremes discovered in new Adelaide record

Our analysis of recently transcribed historical data has picked up extreme events such as a week-long heatwave, bushfires, a dust storm, and severe storms that caused hail and flooding in 19th century Adelaide. Citizen scientists transcribed newly discovered historical daily weather observations from 1843 to 1856 for the Adelaide region.  The data show that 1847 … Continue reading Previously unknown weather extremes discovered in new Adelaide record

The longest daily weather record for Adelaide is now fully transcribed!

Our citizen science volunteers have helped to fill an eight-year data gap in Adelaide’s daily weather record, transcribing historical weather journals that cover the period 1843 to 1856. It took 1,103 volunteers 77 days to transcribe over 33,400 classifications on the citizen science platform, Zooniverse.  These newly transcribed observations will help link together historical and … Continue reading The longest daily weather record for Adelaide is now fully transcribed!

Historical climate data can improve our assessment of future climate risk

Australia is a land characterised by dramatic climate and weather extremes. Currently, our understanding of the nation’s climatic history is mostly confined to official records kept by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology that begin in 1900, despite the fact that observations are available from first European settlement of Australia in 1788. Colonial weather observations taken … Continue reading Historical climate data can improve our assessment of future climate risk

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