The team behind the groundbreaking citizen science project, OzDocs, recently launched a new version of the volunteer website marking a rapid expansion in the scope of the project.
In 2011 volunteers from the OzDocs project discovered devastating locust plagues, sweeping floods, burning heat waves and snow falling in Sydney during colonial times. The launch of the new website in 2012 will accommodate a far greater number of volunteers who will continue to recover Australia’s climate history at an unprecedented rate.
The launch of the new volunteer website was covered in the mainstream media by The Age newspaper, ABC radio, and blogs. This coverage led to a large spike in recruitment with 55 new volunteers signing up in the following month. Together with established volunteers, they rescued 391 historical weather accounts bringing the total number up to an impressive 4,172.
The OzDocs project was primarily founded to help bridge the gap between climate scientists and members of the wider community.
“An important part of this project is to help the community understand the difference between natural climate variability and how industrially-driven climate change since the 1950s is amplifying our already extreme climate in ways not experienced in the past,” said project leader Dr Joelle Gergis.
The information recovered by volunteers will be used to enrich landmark academic studies that are extending the climate record in Australia. This sets up an extraordinary opportunity to involve the broader community in writing our nation’s climate history.
You can learn more and sign up to become an OzDocs volunteer by visiting www.ozdocs.climatehistory.com.au
[Note added in March 2020: OzDocs has now become Climate History Australia. The aims are similar – to gather more historical climate data. To get involved, visit www.climatehistory.com.au/involved.]