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 modern weather observations to provide a continuous weather record for Adelaide back to 1836. The record is one of the longest in the Southern Hemisphere, providing valuable data to global datasets.
Since the project’s launch on 8 September, 2020, there have been over 500 comments on our Zooniverse Discussion Forum regarding the transcription of the records, as well as some of the strangest and most interesting finds in them. One interesting discovery by a volunteer was a previously unknown historical flooding event in 1848.
The observations collected include instrumental observations of temperature and pressure, and remarks on cloud types, rain and wind direction and speed. At the halfway mark, our team plotted up the preliminary, unadjusted results for temperature and pressure. Shortly, we will share more results on this website: an analysis of rain days and case studies of extreme events based on the pressure observations.
Our researchers are now analysing the data for what will become Australia’s longest daily weather record, which we will publish in the scientific literature in due course. There’s more detail about how we analyse historical climate data here.
A new project launching in 2021!
In early 2021, we will launch another citizen science project to transcribe some recently discovered historical weather journals from Perth from 1880 to 1900. The transcription process for the new Perth project will be similar to this Adelaide project, although probably much easier and simpler as the journals are very neat and consistent.
If you’d like to be notified when we launch our Perth project, you can sign up to our e-newsletter here.