Etching of the 1867 flood in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, depicting the Eather family. Source: illustrated Sydney News.

Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse

By Joelle Gergis, Australian National University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article from March 24, 2021. Over the past three years, I’ve been working on the forthcoming report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I’m a climate scientist who contributed to the … Continue reading Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse

Swan River, Mill St Jetty, from Perth Esplanade circa 1900. Source: Royal Western Australian Historical Society

Australia’s longest weather record from climate change ‘hot spot’

Our team is now looking for volunteers to help create Australia’s longest daily weather record from a globally recognised climate change ‘hot spot’. The citizen science project will help scientists reconstruct Perth’s daily weather from 1830 to the present day. These historical records are critical for understanding Australia’s pre-industrial climate, and how climate change has … Continue reading Australia’s longest weather record from climate change ‘hot spot’

The laying of the old Perth observatory foundation stone by West Australian Premier John Forrest in September 1896 was quite the celebration. Source: Powerhouse Museum.

Climate reconstructed

In 1896, there was a great celebration for the unveiling of West Australia’s weather observatory’s foundation stone in Perth Park (now Kings Park and Botanic Garden). That year, Premier John Forrest said that the observatory: "… showed that in the time of our prosperity we were trying to elevate and improve the public mind and to do something for the encouragement of the arts and sciences… Western Australians might be proud they were doing something to enlighten their people and to join hands with the scientists all over the world.”

A painting by J Hitchen depicting heavy snowfall on the Adelaide Hills from North Terrace, Adelaide, 1841. Source: B-7070 State Library of South Australia.

Unearthing Australia’s climate history

Few people realise that snow was once a common occurrence for southern Australia’s climate. Historical records help document impacts of past weather extremes such as heatwaves, floods, droughts and even snow. Now scientists are using these fascinating resources to uncover more about Australia’s climate history and also shed light on modern severe weather events...

Depiction of the year 1827 at Swan River, Western Australia. Source: National Gallery of Australia.

What was Perth’s climate like from 1830 to 1875?

Very little is known about the past climate of Perth, Western Australia, during the 19th century. Our team recently pieced together the oldest daily weather observations from south-western Australia spanning 1830–1875. There’s a strong case for increasing 19th century climate data rescue efforts in the south-western region of Australia, due to the vulnerability of this … Continue reading What was Perth’s climate like from 1830 to 1875?

Dr Linden Ashcroft. Image credit: Science & Technology Australia (STA)

Linden Ashcroft wins a science outreach award

In exciting news, our very own Dr Linden Ashcroft has been awarded the AMOS Science Outreach Award at the 2021 AMOS conference. The accolade recognises AMOS outreach ambassadors who inspire other AMOS members to undertake science engagement activities. It also recognises those who engage with the public, politicians, schools, businesses and communities, to educate and … Continue reading Linden Ashcroft wins a science outreach award

Snow preventing coal and other trains from leaving Petersburg, South Australia, in July 1895.

What we’ve learnt about Australia’s climate history

This year our team completed a pilot citizen science project with over 1,000 volunteers, developed Australia’s longest daily weather record, analysed previously unknown weather extremes from the 19th century, and reached at least 1.6 million people through media coverage.  Here’s an outline of our achievements this year and a summary of what we’ve learnt so … Continue reading What we’ve learnt about Australia’s climate history

A low pressure system across Adelaide in July 1847.

Previously unknown weather extremes discovered in new Adelaide record

Our analysis of recently transcribed historical data has picked up extreme events such as a week-long heatwave, bushfires, a dust storm, and severe storms that caused hail and flooding in 19th century Adelaide. Citizen scientists transcribed newly discovered historical daily weather observations from 1843 to 1856 for the Adelaide region.  The data show that 1847 … Continue reading Previously unknown weather extremes discovered in new Adelaide record

Sturt's Overland Expedition leaving Adelaide, August 10th, 1844, by S.T. Gill. Source: Art Gallery of South Australia.

The longest daily weather record for Adelaide is now fully transcribed!

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 … Continue reading The longest daily weather record for Adelaide is now fully transcribed!