Uncovering Australia’s climate history since European settlement

Uncovering Australia’s climate history since European settlement
Free Seminar: 22 March 2017 @1PM
Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library)

Sample page from Belfield's 1877 Meteorological Observing Book

Sample page from Belfield’s 1877 Meteorological Observing Book

 


PLEASE NOTE:

The DOI for the transcribed Eversleigh dataset is :http://dx.doi.org/10.25817/5b46a2a483841.

Belfield, Algernon (2018) Meteorological observations for Eversleigh Station, near Armidale, New South Wales, Australia 1877-1922 (transcribed). The University of Newcastle. Collection.dx.doi.org/10.25817/5b46a2a483841.


Dr Linden Ashcroft
Senior Researcher

Centre for Climate Change (C3), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV)
Avinguda de Remolins, 13–15, 43500, Tortosa, Spain

Together with the Launch of the scientifically digitised Eversleigh Climate Data

22 March 2017 @ 1PM
Cultural Collections, Level 2 Auchmuty Library
FREE Admission

Dr Linden Ashcroft – Abstract (PDF)

Abstract:

The climate of Australia is notoriously variable: we truly live in a country of droughts and flooding rains. Historical records offer an insight into past climatic events, helping us determine what is natural variability, and what is human-induced climate change.

In this presentation I will focus on the rescue of instrumental weather observations for southeastern Australia from 1788 to 1860. These “old numbers” can support documentary accounts of past weather and climate, and help to calibrate natural indicators of past change, such as tree rings and ice cores.

I will introduce some of our most dedicated 19th century weather observers, including publicans, governors, painters and doctors. Records taken by these men are the earliest numerical information we have on the temperature and rainfall in Australia’s most highly populated region. A good example is Algernon Belfield, a landowner from Eversleigh, near Armidale, NSW (data record 1877 to 1922).

Using their data along with supporting documentary evidence, I will then look into some of the more interesting climate events that occurred during the first 72 years of colonial settlement in Australia.

 ashcroft-jan2016Dr Linden Ashcroft Bio
Linden is a climate researcher who completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne’s School of Earth Sciences in early 2014. Her research focuses on the rescue and analysis of historical weather observations in Australia and Europe, to improve our understanding of past, present and future climate. She is also a qualified science communicator, and have shared her passion for “old weather” through channels including BBC World Radio, The Conversation and the Sydney Morning Herald. Linden is currently completing a post-doctoral position at the Centre for Climate Change Universitat Rovira i Virgili in southern Catalonia, Spain.

For publications and more information, visit lindenashcroft.com or get in touch on Twitter @lindenashcroft.

 

Conference Poster – The Eversleigh Historical Meteorological Data Set Part 1: Algernon Henry Belfield and his Measurements, 1877-1922. (Click image for larger size)

The Eversleigh Historical Meteorological Data Set Part 2: Data Transformation and Quality Assessment (Howard Bridgman et al) PDF Version

 

The Eversleigh Historical Meteorological Data Set Part 3: Climate variability in New England, 1882-1922. (Click image for a larger view)

 

The Trials and Tribulations of Data Digitisation by Linden Ashcroft (Click image for a larger view)

POWERPOINT PRESENTATION IMAGES

 


This FREE PUBLIC SEMINAR will also mark the LAUNCH of the scientifically digitised Eversleigh Data Set, recorded by Algernon Henry Belfield between 1877-1922, and meticulously transcribed by crowd sourced volunteers from around the world, between April and May 2016.

The volunteers answered the call from the Algernon Wants You poster that was published on the 11 March 2016, calling for help in transferring, what was arguably, the best and most complete set of weather measurements for the time period on the New England Plateau, into digital spreadsheets.

On the 14 April 2016 the Conversation Article was published http://theconversation.com/19th-century-weather-data-is-helping-climate-scientists-predict-the-future-57342  , and within 24 hours three volunteers had enlisted from three Australian states. That soon grew to twenty seven volunteers, including two internationals, who enlisted to transcribe the data sets.

By the 24 May 2016, all the Eversleigh data had now been input into excel spreadsheets, and we sincerely thank the twenty-seven volunteers who assisted.

The data was then placed in the hands of Dr Linden Ashcroft, whose experience and skills are very important as we change the units to metric, combine that data into a full set, and  begin analysis. The preliminary results of this analysis will be presented.

DOWNLOAD THE DIGITISED EVERSLEIGH DATA SET HERE:

Eversleigh-Archive-V1

Containing the three .csv files for the Eversleigh Original Daily Data 1882-1922, Eversleigh Converted Daily Data 1882-1922, and the monthly means/totals calculated from the converted daily data. Only months with less than 15% missing data have had monthly means calculated.

Eversleigh Original Daily Data 1882-1922
Eversleigh Converted Daily Data 1882-1922
Eversleigh Converted Data Monthly Means

 

Conjoint Associate Professor Howard Bridgman
President Asian Aerosol Research Assembly
Fellow, Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
University of Newcastle

MEDIA

New Life for Weather Diaries (Armidale Express)
http://www.armidaleexpress.com.au/story/4563407/new-life-for-weather-dairies/?cs=469

Algernon Wants You!

Algernon Wants You Poster.

Algernon Wants You Poster.


PLEASE NOTE:

The DOI for the transcribed Eversleigh dataset is :http://dx.doi.org/10.25817/5b46a2a483841.

Belfield, Algernon (2018) Meteorological observations for Eversleigh Station, near Armidale, New South Wales, Australia 1877-1922 (transcribed). The University of Newcastle. Collection.dx.doi.org/10.25817/5b46a2a483841.



ALGERNON WANTS YOU!

VOLUNTEERS WANTED!
DATA ENTRY OF HISTORICAL WEATHER INFORMATION

We (a research group from the University of Newcastle & the University of New England)   have obtained a very important set of weather journals for the property Eversleigh for the years 1877 to 1922.  Our research has established that this  information is the best and most complete set of weather measurements for the time period on the New England Plateau.

This information is all handwritten in tables and is 98% complete.  To allow analysis, the information must be transferred
into digital spreadsheets. Scanning and recognition software do not work.  The information transfer can only occur by

PEOPLE POWER!

DO YOU LIKE WORKING WITH NUMBERS?
DO YOU LOVE ACCURACY & ATTENTION TO DETAIL?
DO YOU HAVE MICROSOFT EXCEL INSTALLED ON YOUR COMPUTER?
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN HELPING?

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

THE ANALYSIS OF THE INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT FOR THREE REASONS:

1. IT PROVIDES A “PRE-HUMAN IMPACT” ASSESSMENT OF WEATHER AND CLIMATE  THAT CAN BE USED AS A BASE TO ASSESS LATER HUMAN IMAPCTS ON GLOBAL WARMING

2. IT PROVIDES IMPORTANT WEATHER INFORMATION TO HELP UNDERSTAND THE  HISTORY OF RURAL ACTIVITIES IN THE NEW ENGLAND AREA

3. WHEN COMBINED WITH OTHER SIMILAR INFORMATION  IT CAN ADD TO THE  OVERALL UNDERSTANDING OF THE HISTORICAL WEATHER AND CLIMATE  INFORMATION FOR AUSTRALIA

ENLIST TODAY!

CALL YOUR LOCAL ARCHIVIST

Bill Oates (University Archivist, University of New England)
Ph. (02) 6773 6565
Email: woates@une.edu.au
or
Howard Bridgman (Conjoint Associate Professor, University of Newcastle)
Mob: 0425 281 387
Email: howard.bridgman@newcastle.edu.au

 

 

BACKGROUND

Please find below links and interactions we have had regarding the meteorological records of pastoralist, meteorologist and astronomer Algernon Henry Belfield (1838-1922). We have created three blog posts regarding these climate records:

18 February 2011 Mapping Our Climate – to announce the digital deposit of the records with the University of Newcastle:
https://uoncc.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/mapping-our-climate/

9 March 2011 Climate archive to help predict extreme weather events – Scanned Registers belonging to New England pastoralist Algernon Henry Belfield containing his observations made at Eversleigh Station from 1877-1922:
https://uoncc.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/climate-archive-to-help-predict-extreme-weather-events/

19 January 2012 – Belfield Climate Archive Expands with New Find – Announcing new find of additional volume (1908-1922) and included in above scans, to provide us with a 45 year data set of solid scientific climate records. In addition is a video of the Algernon Henry Belfield Inaugural Lecture at UNE:
https://uoncc.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/belfield-climate-archive-expands-with-new-find/

Mapping our Climate

Algernon Henry Belfield

 


PLEASE NOTE:

The DOI for the transcribed Eversleigh dataset is :http://dx.doi.org/10.25817/5b46a2a483841.

Belfield, Algernon (2018) Meteorological observations for Eversleigh Station, near Armidale, New South Wales, Australia 1877-1922 (transcribed). The University of Newcastle. Collection.dx.doi.org/10.25817/5b46a2a483841.


On the 9th March 2011 a digital copy of important climate records dating from 1877 will be deposited with the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections.

Algernon Henry Belfield (1838-1922) arrived in Australia in 1855, and was an astronomer, meteorologist and pastoralist responsible to recording 30 years of meticulous weather data at his Eversleigh Station in the New England district.

The original journals date from 1877-1907 and were originally offered to University academic Mr Martin Babakhan to be deposited here. But after consideration of their place of origin the University Archivist recommended the records be housed closer to home at the Heritage Centre University of New England (UNE) at Armidale.

UNE have kindly provided us with a digital copy of the records, and Richard Belfield (grandson of Algernon Henry Belfield) will be travelling from Armidale to Newcastle to present the University with a digital copy of his grandfather’s climate records in person.

Martin Babakhan believes that there are other local pastoral families who may have in their custody similar climate records, and may be able to provide us with similar collections for ongoing research, thus enabling our climate and environmental researchers to comprehensively map our local climate data from the historical records.

All those interested in climate research are welcome to come along.  Professor Tim Roberts, Director, Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, Professor Howard Bridgman Conjoint Professor Editor, Air Quality and Climate Change, School of Environmental and Life Sciences and Mr Martin Babakhan from the Faculty of Science and Information Technology will speak on the day on the importance of such records to ongoing and future research.

When: Wednesday 9th March 2011 at 10 am

Where: Cultural Collections Level 2 Auchmuty Library

All Welcome.

Please RSVP archives@newcastle.edu.au

For more information:

ABC New England Radio Interviews with Mr Richard Belfield

ABC New England Radio – Sample Images from the Weather Records (1877)