Interdisciplinary climate: The case of the first 50 years of British observations in Australia

Publisher:
American Meteorological Society
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Weather, Climate and Society, 2012, 4 (2), pp. 118 - 131
Issue Date:
2012-01
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This paper presents the case for improved interdisciplinarity in climate research in the context of assessing and discussing the caution required when utilizing some types of historical climate data. This is done by a case study examining the reliability of the instruments used for collecting weather data in Australia between 1788 and 1840, as well as the observers themselves, during the British settlement of New South Wales. This period is challenging because the instruments were not uniformly calibrated and were created, repaired, and used by a wide variety of people with skills that frequently remain undocumented. Continuing significant efforts to rescue such early instrumental records of climate are likely to be enhanced by more open, interdisciplinary research that encourages discussion of an apparent dichotomy of view about the quantitative value of early single-instrument data between historians of physics (including museum curators) and climate researchers
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