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. ...

Snow storm at Peterborough on 23rd June 1908. Source: State Library of South Australia.

Extra volunteers to recover climate history

The team behind the groundbreaking citizen science project, OzDocs, recently launched a new version of the volunteer website marking a rapid expansion in the scope of the project. In 2011 volunteers from the OzDocs project discovered devastating locust plagues, sweeping floods, burning heat waves and snow falling in Sydney during colonial times. The launch of … Continue reading Extra volunteers to recover climate history

Sydney Cove from the North Shore in 1836. Credit State Library of NSW.

1836: Snow in Sydney

The burgeoning colony of Sydney was blanketed with up to an inch of snow on a bitterly cold morning in June 1836. This historic event was recently uncovered in a newspaper archive by a volunteer from the citizen science project, OzDocs. ‘About seven o’clock in the morning a drifting fall covered the streets, nearly an … Continue reading 1836: Snow in Sydney

OzDocs project receives engagement award

The team behind the citizen science project, OzDocs, was awarded a University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor’s Staff Engagement Grant at an official ceremony on 30 September 2011. The goal of the OzDocs project is to piece together Australian climate varitaions from the time of first European settlement until official weather records begin in 1900. As … Continue reading OzDocs project receives engagement award

Research Trip to the State Library of NSW

Claire Fenby in the State Library of NSW. In late July 2011 Linden Ashcroft and Claire Fenby, two PhD students from the SEARCH team, spent three weeks delving into the rich collection of historical documents at the State Library of NSW. By the end of their research trip the pair had unearthed an abundance of … Continue reading Research Trip to the State Library of NSW

‘Big Dry’ worst drought since European settlement

The severe drought that afflicted South Eastern Australia from 1997–2009 ‘Big Dry’ is likely to have been the worst since first European settlement according to a new study by climate scientists at the University of Melbourne. The researchers used data derived from tree rings and coral records to determine that there is a 97% chance … Continue reading ‘Big Dry’ worst drought since European settlement

1863: Drought Followed by Devastating Flood

Settlements along the Clarence River in NSW were inundated with record-breaking floodwaters that claimed the lives of 9 people and caused extensive damage to riverside towns and farms in February 1863. The flood followed 2 months of wet weather that had brought an end to a severe drought. The relief felt after the drought broke … Continue reading 1863: Drought Followed by Devastating Flood

Piecing together Australasia’s past

The University of Western Australia hosted a workshop last week that brought together a group of researchers who are piecing together a detailed reconstruction of Australasia’s climate over the past 2000 years. The group, know as Aus2K, is the Australasian component of an international effort coordinated by Past Global Changes (PAGES) to reconstruct the Earth’s … Continue reading Piecing together Australasia’s past

1837: Sydney’s North Shore on Fire

On November 29, 1837 hot and windy conditions sparked extensive bushfires that raged across Sydney's north shore, an area that is now a dense urban landscape. Fires were reported all the way from Mosman to Parramatta spanning approximately 20km along the northern shore. "Whatever direction the eye turned fires were to be observed" reported the … Continue reading 1837: Sydney’s North Shore on Fire

Extreme weather in 2011: A Scientific Perspective

Monster cyclones in Queensland, floods in Victoria, bushfires in Perth, heat waves in Russia and snow storms in Europe were a few of the extreme weather events that prompted a recent public talk on the scientific perspective of current extreme weather. SEARCH researchers Karl Braganza (Bureau of Meteorology), Neville Nicholls (Monash University) and David Karoly … Continue reading Extreme weather in 2011: A Scientific Perspective