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.

Currently, our team is looking for volunteers to help create Australia’s longest daily weather record from a globally recognised climate change ‘hot spot’, Perth. The citizen science project will help scientists reconstruct Perth’s daily weather from 1830 to the present day. Take part on the citizen science platform, Zooniverse, here.

In 2020, we ran a citizen science project to develop a daily weather record for Adelaide back to 1838. There’s more detail in the video below. Click here to sign up to our e-newsletter to stay up-to-date with our latest news and research.

Recent Posts

Perth’s deadly heatwave of 1896

A “wave of heat” that was described at the time as “abnormal” and “unbearable”, affected Perth, Western Australia, from 1-4 January, 1896.  During the “exceedingly long spell of hot weather”, there were at least seven reported “deaths from sunstroke”, as well as the passing of four infants in a nearby town.  Perth experienced severe water … Continue reading Perth’s deadly heatwave of 1896

Reconstructing past extremes using historical wind observations

In November and December of 1829, the Perth region was battered by “strong squalls” and a “very fresh wind and boisterous sea“. The gale-force winds pushed the H.M.S Success aground, and was part of a succession of wind-related shipwrecks which contributed to “failure and famine” difficulties in the colony of Swan River, Western Australia.  How … Continue reading Reconstructing past extremes using historical wind observations

Why we don’t use computers to transcribe these historical weather records

We’ve had a few queries on our current Zooniverse project Forum page about why we aren’t using machines or artificial intelligence (AI) to transcribe these weather journals. Sometimes, this type of data transcription is called Machine Learning (ML) or Optical Character Recognition/Reader (OCR). The reason we need actual people to transcribe these documents is that … Continue reading Why we don’t use computers to transcribe these historical weather records

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