Historic climate data never before used by researchers may provide the key to helping communities better prepare for extreme weather events, such as the recent Queensland floods.
The data, collected between 1877 and 1907, by a New England pastoralist, will be used by University of Newcastle researchers to map the future climate of the region.
“The Bureau of Meteorology did not start collecting detailed, official climate data in the New England area until 1961,” University meteorologist Martin Babakhan said.
“This data could be applied to create an early warning system to help climatologists and meteorologists better predict the extreme weather events that we have seen across Australia in the last six to 12 months.
“The information is extremely detailed and will help fill significant gaps in knowledge, and when applied to computerised climate modelling, will help us better predict climate and weather events in that region.”
The research will help predict adverse and beneficial climate events for the agriculture industry, as well as for planning, development and business investment in rural and regional areas.
“Climate management is all about knowledge. With this information we can understand why and how our climate is changing and the likely impacts, which are vital to better understand the climate of tomorrow,” Mr Babakhan said.
The climate data, collected by astronomer and meteorologist Algernon Henry Belfield at his Eversleigh Station in the New England region, has been donated to the University of Newcastle Cultural Collections and it is also being archived by the University of New England Heritage Centre.
“Most families on the land have detailed historic data about weather and climate that can be used by scientists to answer important questions about our climate,” Mr Babakhan said.
“It is important that they come forward with this information to help fill the gaps in knowledge and answer these vital questions about our nation’s future.”
Researchers, climate change believers and sceptics will attend a launch of the Mapping our Climate collection at the University of Newcastle, Cultural Collection, Level 2 Auchmuty Library, Callaghan, at 10am on Wednesday 9 March.
For information on climate archiving at the University of Newcastle contact University Archivist, Gionni Di Gravio on 4921 5819.
For more information contact University of Newcastle Media and Public Relations Officer Leonie Brann on 02 4921 6856 or 0448 898 813.