Our citizen science volunteers have now helped to fill a twenty-year data gap in Perth’s daily weather record, by transcribing historical weather journals that cover the period 1880 to 1900.
It took 1,790 volunteers 72 days to transcribe over 34,000 weather observations 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 Perth back to 1830. The record is one of the longest in the Southern Hemisphere, providing valuable data to global datasets.
Since the project’s launch on 20 April 2021, there have been over 500 new 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. Some interesting discoveries by volunteers so far have been a deadly heatwave in early January 1896, as well as three incidences of hoar frost in July and August of 1889.
The observations collected include the variables for temperature, pressure, attached thermometers, wind direction and general daily weather remarks. Just before the project reached the halfway mark, our team plotted up the preliminary, unadjusted results for daily maximum temperature.
Now that we have all of the remaining variables, we will be able to share more results on this website shortly. We hope to share a preliminary plot of the unadjusted pressure data soon, and more case studies of extreme events based on the pressure observations in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, our researchers are now analysing the data for what will become Australia’s longest daily weather records, which we will publish in the scientific literature in due course. If you’re interested, there’s more detail about how we analyse historical climate data here.
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