This page gives a summary and index of posts on reconstructing the climate history of South East Australia.


South East Australia has a sufficient density of weather records to provide some hope that its climate history can be reconstructed with useful accuracy back to the 19th century. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has attempted this back to 1910 with its ACORN-SAT data, but not (yet?) before that date, one reason cited being that some non-standard thermometer enclosures were in use before 1910. This blog began with investigations of the effects of changes in thermometer enclosure.

The BoM provide raw temperature data for many stations with records extending back to the 19th century. Some of these stations have had changes of thermometer enclosure, and it should be possible to detect and correct such changes (at least to some extent), especially if there is documentary evidence (metadata) for changes.

There has been some academic work in this area, with Dr. Linden Ashcroft the principal investigator, summarised in the following guest post, which provides references to the literature:

Dr. Ashcroft  has made public a high level summary of the metadata used during her thesis work, giving dates of step changes and information (when known) on what might have caused the changes:

Other References

Some other references that have guided my investigations:

  1. (a very good short report on an academic study of modern and historical urban heat island effect)
  2. (this is a link to Torok et al, 2001, Urban Heat Island features of southeast Australian towns)
  3. (this is the PhD thesis of Simon Torok, 1996:

    “The development of a high quality historical temperature data base for Australia”

    including a very useful appendix that gives a summary of reports from Australian weather stations)

  4. There is much useful information available via this link, including a very good report by Blair Trewin on the methodology behind the creation of ACORN-SAT, available from the following link:
  6. (this is a link to the PhD thesis of Blair Trewin “Extreme Temperature Events in Australia”)
  7. (this is a link to the paper by David Stockwell and Ken Stewart, 2012, on potential biases in the pre-cursor to ACORN-SAT)

Detection and Analysis of pre-1910 enclosure changes

My posts in this area are as follows:

Quality Control of Temperature Data

Detection of small inhomogeneities

Detection of Urban Heating

Reconstruction of Regional Climate Histories

I have developed a relatively simple procedure for estimating “true” regional average temperature and rainfall histories from raw data, which may have inhomogeneities. Full details, and examples, are given in a companion website:

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