As we slowly emerge from lockdown, local adventures are high on people’s wish lists. You may be planning a trip to the ski fields, or even the nearby hills to revel in the white stuff that occasionally falls around our southern cities after an icy winter blast.
Our new research explores these low-elevation snowfall events. We pieced together weather records back to 1838 to create Australia’s longest analysis of daily temperature extremes and their impacts on society.
These historical records can tell us a lot about Australia’s pre-industrial climate, before the large-scale burning of fossil fuels tainted global temperature records.
They also help provide a longer context to evaluate more recent temperature extremes.
We found snow was once a regular feature of the southern Australian climate. But as Australia continues to warm under climate change, cold extremes are becoming less frequent and heatwaves more common.