A sketch of Perth and Melville Waters with Mount Eliza from the main street of Perth in 1839, by Charles Wittenoom. Note the fire plumes and smoke across the water. Source: National Library of Australia

February 1900: Bushfires surround Perth during a heatwave

"Yesterday, the city might almost be said to have been encircled by bush fires. There was hardly a point of the compass but was marked by huge volumes of smoke rising from the bush, and the resultant heat was almost unendurable. There was scarcely any sea-breeze during the day, and when at rare intervals a … Continue reading February 1900: Bushfires surround Perth during a heatwave

A severe storm caused widespread flooding across the Southwest of Western Australia in July 1926. Pictured here is Northam (90 km north-east of Perth) which was one of many towns surrounding and including Perth that were inundated with floodwaters. Source: State Library of Western Australia BA2930/6.

Wrap up of Climate History Australia’s citizen science projects on Zooniverse

In 2020 and 2021, Climate History Australia ran two citizen science projects on Zooniverse. The aim was to transcribe observations from 19th century handwritten meteorological journals from Adelaide and Perth.  The projects recovered a total of 26 years' worth of historical climate observations. We had more than 1,790 volunteers on Zooniverse, and collected a combined … Continue reading Wrap up of Climate History Australia’s citizen science projects on Zooniverse

A windy day in Perth – two girls on a dirt road, circa 1900 (probably Mounts Bay Road). Source: State Library of Western Australia BA597/23

Project Update: Perth Zooniverse project close to completion

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 … Continue reading Project Update: Perth Zooniverse project close to completion

Perth’s deadly heatwave of 1896

A “wave of heat” that was described at the time as “abnormal” and “unbearable”, affected Perth, Western Australia, from 1-4 January, 1896.  During the “exceedingly long spell of hot weather”, there were at least seven reported “deaths from sunstroke”, as well as the passing of four infants in a nearby town.  Perth experienced severe water … Continue reading Perth’s deadly heatwave of 1896

The H.M.S Success being repaired after damage from running aground at Carnac Island, South of Perth, during a strong gale in 1829. Source: Wikipedia

Reconstructing past extremes using historical wind observations

In November and December of 1829, the Perth region was battered by "strong squalls" and a "very fresh wind and boisterous sea". The gale-force winds pushed the H.M.S Success aground, and was part of a succession of wind-related shipwrecks which contributed to “failure and famine” difficulties in the colony of Swan River, Western Australia.  How … Continue reading Reconstructing past extremes using historical wind observations

Why we don’t use computers to transcribe these historical weather records

We've had a few queries on our current Zooniverse project Forum page about why we aren't using machines or artificial intelligence (AI) to transcribe these weather journals. Sometimes, this type of data transcription is called Machine Learning (ML) or Optical Character Recognition/Reader (OCR). The reason we need actual people to transcribe these documents is that … Continue reading Why we don’t use computers to transcribe these historical weather records

Hail covers Aberdeen Street, Perth after a storm, 8 July 1905. slwa

June 1872: Severe storm and flooding in Perth

Our research has found that in June 1872, Perth experienced one of its most severe storms of the 19th century. Barometer observations made during this storm show that atmospheric pressure was at one of its lowest levels since 1830. The associated flooding from the storm was reported as one of the most severe floods since the … Continue reading June 1872: Severe storm and flooding in Perth

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’