Early Weather Data

The Meteorological Journal of William Dawes. Image: Joelle Gergis

To date, there has been limited exploration of Australian historical meteorological records for pre-20th century weather information.

But the information held in these early records is essential for evaluating the historical context of extreme events such as the current drought gripping southern Australia, and defining our range of pre-industrial climate variability.

Climate History Australia’s aim is to extend south-eastern Australia’s climate record as far back as possible, by digitising meteorological records held by the Bureau of Meteorology, National and State Archives, and a range of pre-Federation observatories and historical societies.

Some of the key meteorological records the our team has examined, include:

Our team has had a substantial contribution to the collection and analysis of Australia’s early weather data. Our digitised versions of historical temperature, rainfall and pressure information (including monthly and seasonal anomalies) for the South-Eastern Australian region from 1788 to 1859 is outlined on the Bureau of Meteorology’s website here.

An early weather data highlight from our team’s public talk at State Library of Victoria in August 2012.