A little over two months ago, on 20 April 2021, we launched a new citizen science project to transcribe Perth’s daily weather journals from 1880 to 1900.
This Zooniverse project is now at 78% completion, and over 1,780 people have volunteered.
Anyone with access to the internet and a desktop computer can get involved. Every transcription completed is an important part of creating the longest, near continuous daily weather records for Australia.
The task for citizen scientists is to transcribe weather observations from the Perth Survey Office from 1880 to 1884, and the Perth Botanical Gardens from 1885 to 1900.
To date, all of the ‘Thermometer’, ‘Attached Thermometer’ and ‘Remarks’ observations have been collected by our Zooniverse volunteers, but we still need help completing the ‘Barometer’ and ‘Wind Direction’ workflows.
Why is this research important?
Understanding the past helps scientists better estimate natural climate variability and extremes as the planet continues to warm.
To date, the majority of historical data recovery efforts across Australia have centred on the colonial centres of south-eastern Australia. Recovering 19th century observations from south-western Australia is important as it is a globally recognised climate change ‘hot spot’.
Recently, our team recovered and analysed the oldest known daily weather observations from south-western Australia, that spans 1830–1875. This current project will bridge the gap between these newly digitised observations with the start of the Bureau of Meteorology’s daily weather records for Perth in 1897.
Earlier this month, by using the thermometer transcriptions completed by Zooniverse volunteers, we plotted up the preliminary, unadjusted results for Perth’s daily maximum temperature from 1880 to 1900. We’re already looking forward to sharing further updates on the data after the project is fully transcribed – but first, we need your help with the remaining ‘Barometer’ and ‘Wind Direction’ workflows.
And thank you to all our volunteers who are helping to create Australia’s longest instrumental daily weather records!