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...

Depiction of the year 1827 at Swan River, Western Australia. Source: National Gallery of Australia.

What was Perth’s climate like from 1830 to 1875?

Very little is known about the past climate of Perth, Western Australia, during the 19th century. Our team recently pieced together the oldest daily weather observations from south-western Australia spanning 1830–1875. There’s a strong case for increasing 19th century climate data rescue efforts in the south-western region of Australia, due to the vulnerability of this … Continue reading What was Perth’s climate like from 1830 to 1875?

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

E. C. Frome, Australia, First view of the salt desert - called Lake Torrens, 1843, Lake Frome, South Australia. Source: Art Gallery of South Australia.

Historical climate data can improve our assessment of future climate risk

Australia is a land characterised by dramatic climate and weather extremes. Currently, our understanding of the nation’s climatic history is mostly confined to official records kept by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology that begin in 1900, despite the fact that observations are available from first European settlement of Australia in 1788. Colonial weather observations taken … Continue reading Historical climate data can improve our assessment of future climate risk

Weather-analysis-for web

How do we analyse historical climate data?

Learn how our team of researchers will analyse a new set of early weather data from the Adelaide Survey Department, South Australia, in the 1800s. ...

National Archives of Australia documents

Help piece together Australia’s longest daily weather record

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?  The answers to these questions lie deep in historical records, such as old weather journals, early newspapers, photographs, and colonial paintings. And thanks to some very dedicated early-settlers, … Continue reading Help piece together Australia’s longest daily weather record

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. ...

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...

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. ...