WeatherMore Press Releases related to this journal
- Press Release
- About Journal
Scientists Use Records From First Fleet’s Voyage to Botany Bay To Find Lost Pieces of Climate Puzzle
Climate scientists from around the world are meeting in New Zealand this month as part of an immense global effort to recover lost weather data from the past.
The Asian-Pacific Network (APN) for Global Change Research workshop in Auckland on September 27–29 will discuss the latest research using recovered weather information, often from handwritten sources such as historical weather station diaries, ship records and explorers’ logs.
The effort to uncover and digitise this rare weather information will be vital to understanding climate variability and change in the Australasian–Pacific region.
With increasing concern about climate change, variability, and extremes, there is an urgent need for reliable, high-quality instrumental observations of past weather conditions.
On a global level, the international Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) initiative has been instrumental in promoting the rescue of lost weather data and linking various international research projects that reconstruct past weather conditions which can be used for a myriad of applications worldwide.
Unfortunately, many valuable historical observations in the Australasian-Pacific region are hidden away in archives, limiting our understanding of how the current human-induced climate change fits into the context of regional variability.
The Auckland meeting aims to tackle this issue, allowing the region’s scientists to share the latest reconstructed data, creating longer and more detailed climate records. These past records will then help researchers to test the accuracy of current climate model projections, and to constrain future climate model scenarios.
An example of the data recovered from the region is a fascinating reconstruction of the weather that the First Fleet battled during the epic voyage to Botany Bay.
The study, by the University of Melbourne’s Dr Joelle Gergis, and her colleagues Dr Rob Allan and Dr Philip Brohan from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and ACRE, is based on the logbook of weather information kept by a young marine on the First Fleet vessel HMS Sirius, William Bradley.
Bradley kept a daily record of weather observations, including temperature, barometric pressure and winds, in his culturally priceless logbook that had not been analysed for weather and climate information since it was first written in 1787.
The new study, to be published in the UK Journal Weather, charts the often-treacherous conditions that the First Fleet encountered. A striking visualisation of the voyage in Google Earth is available to view from the SEARCH project website.