Climate archive to help predict extreme weather events

Algernon Belfield’s 1882 Meteorological Observing Book for the year 1882

Click Here to View Images from the Belfield Ceremony 9th March 2011 on Flickr

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.

Sample page from the 1882 Meteorological Observing Book

“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.

Sample page from Belfield’s 1877 Meteorological Observing Book

Sample page from Belfield’s 1877 Meteorological Observation Book

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.

Mr Richad Belfield, grandson of Algernon Belfield, examining his grandfather’s records

“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 Collections, Level 2 Auchmuty Library, Callaghan, at 10am on Wednesday 9 March.

Meteorological Observing Book(s) for the Years 1877 – 1907

Compiled by Algernon Henry Belfield (1838-1922)
Eversleigh Station New England District

Linked from this page are optimised PDFs for the 27 extant Observing Books compiled by Algernon Henry Belfield on his Eversleigh Station in the New England District.

The original books were deposited in the Heritage Centre of the University of New England by Algernon Belfield’s grandson Mr Richard Belfield.

The original booklets were digitised for Cultural Collections, University of Newcastle by William Oates, University Archivist at the Heritage Centre University of New England.

NB: Meteorological Observing Books for 1879, 1880 and 1881 are missing.
NB: Each PDF file is around 14-16MB in size. So you might wish to right mouse click on the link and select ‘save link as’ to download the file to your computer.

Highlights of the Ceremony

RARE CLIMATE DATA HELPING PREDICT WEATHER EVENTS
NBN TELEVISION – BROADCAST 9 MARCH 2011

One farmer’s observations to help others – Newcastle Herald 10 March 2011 p.14

3 thoughts on “Climate archive to help predict extreme weather events

  1. Pingback: Belfield Climate Archive Expands with New Find « UoN Cultural Collections

  2. Pingback: Algernon Wants You! | Cultural Collections, UON Library

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