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...

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

Inundations at Port Adelaide-1865-for-web

1848: Floods in Adelaide

Severe flooding affected Adelaide in August, October and November of 1848, when the Torrens River broke its banks, carrying all before it. Within four hours, the river had gone from its normal low-level as barely a stream, to the highest levels of the season – and just a few inches below the level that carried … Continue reading 1848: Floods in Adelaide

One month in: some preliminary results

Since our launch on 8 September 2020, more than 760 Zooniverse volunteers have digitised over 15,000 weather observations to help create Australia’s longest daily weather record. The project is now at the halfway point, with 50% transcribed and 50% still to go. ...

16 historical weather images from the Adelaide region

The team at Climate History Australia aim to reconstruct the Australian climate over past centuries. 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. ...

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