‘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

River Murray’s record low flow

The dramatic drop in water flowing through the River Murray between 1998 and 2008 was probably a once-in-1500-year event according to a new study by researchers at the University of Melbourne. The study reports that although streamflow has varied considerably in the last 200 years, there is a 98% chance that the streamflow deficit experienced … Continue reading River Murray’s record low flow

El Nino influenced Australian identity

Extreme weather events linked to El Nino Southern Oscillation played a hand in shaping the culture of modern Australia according to a new book chapter by climate historian Don Garden. The chapter examines the social, political and cultural significance of The Federation Drought, which has been linked to a series of strong El Nino events. … Continue reading El Nino influenced Australian identity

Volunteers dig up tales of wild weather and insect plagues

With south-eastern Australia in the midst of wet La Niña conditions and Victoria suffering locust plagues, a team of SEARCH project volunteers has discovered early settlers battled many of the same extremes. This heavy rainfall has created perfect conditions for insects such as the locusts that are currently swarming in south-eastern Australia. Australia's early settlers … Continue reading Volunteers dig up tales of wild weather and insect plagues

Old Weather project online and in the news

A groundbreaking citizen science project, led by SEARCH project partners the UK Met Office, has attracted thousands of volunteers and made international headlines. Old Weather is an online volunteer project aiming to digitise ship logs from WWI Royal Navy vessels, in order to gain a clearer picture of worldwide weather events at the time. The … Continue reading Old Weather project online and in the news