16 historical weather images from the Adelaide region

What was Australia’s climate like before official weather records began in the early 1900s? How did the climate impact the lives of people living in the 1800s? You too can discover more about the history of South Australia’s climate with these 16 images relating to the climate history of the Adelaide region...

Call for citizen scientists to help complete Australia’s longest daily weather record

Climate History Australia has launched a new citizen science project to fill a gap in the daily data available for the Adelaide region between 1848 and 1856...

The engineers tasked with Adelaide’s first weather observations

In the year 1843, the ‘Great March Comet’ with its extremely long tail was splendidly visible from even the daytime skies of the Southern Hemisphere. However in Adelaide, South Australia, there was another reason to look skyward for what in modern times might seem like an unlikely group – the Royal Engineers. ...

A snow event in the Lofty Ranges, 1905. Source: State Library of South Australia

We dug up Australian weather records back to 1838 and found snow is falling less often

We pieced together weather records back to 1838 to create Australia’s longest analysis of daily temperature extremes and their impacts on society. We found snow was once a regular feature of the southern Australian climate. But as Australia continues to warm under climate change, cold extremes are becoming less frequent and heatwaves more common. ...

Artwork by John Longstaff depicting a fire in the Gippsland region (1898). Image courtesy the State Library of Victoria.

Understanding why Australia’s extreme events are becoming more frequent and intense

The year 2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest year on record. These two factors combined to create the worst bushfire and drought conditions since the Bureau of Meteorology's daily weather observations began in 1910. After the record-shattering year that the country has just experienced, our team attended the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society annual meeting and international conference in Fremantle, WA, in February this year. ...

Some say we’ve seen bushfires worse than this before. But they’re ignoring a few key facts

Every time a weather extreme occurs, some people quickly jump in to say we’ve been through it all before: that worse events have happened in the past, or it’s just part of natural climate variability. The recent bushfire crisis is a case in point. ...

Introducing Climate History Australia

Climate History Australia has been developed by researchers from The Australian National University to provide a central hub for historical climate research in our region. This initiative follows on from the South-eastern Australian Recent Climate History (SEARCH) project which was hosted by the University of Melbourne from 2009–2014. ...

Dawes Point 1817-1818. Credit: State Library of NSW

Black skies and raging seas: How the First Fleet got a first taste of Australia’s unforgiving climate

The women screamed as the huge waves crashed loudly on the wooden deck. Horrified, they watched the foaming torrent wash away their blankets. Many dropped to their knees, praying for the violent rocking to stop. The sea raged around them as the wind whipped up into a frenzy, damaging all but one of the heavily loaded ships. The severe storm was yet another taste of the ferocious weather that slammed the First Fleet as it made its way across the Southern Ocean in December 1787. ...

A severe flood swept the Hawkesbury River in June 1816. Credit State Library of NSW.

La Niña brings flooding rains to NSW in the early 1860s

A La Niña event spanning 1860–1864 brought repeated widespread flooding to settlements across NSW. This succession of natural disasters demoralised rural communities and devastated agricultural endeavors. The floods in 1863 and 1864 were the most severe with much of the New England and Hunter Valley regions inundated with floodwaters. Flooded street in Maitland, 1864. Image … Continue reading La Niña brings flooding rains to NSW in the early 1860s