Climate researchers seek rainfall records

Published 15 March 2007

Climate change researchers at Southern Cross University are calling on residents in the Tweed and Richmond River catchments to contribute to a comprehensive rainfall study.

Associate Professor Graham Jones, a lecturer in the School of Environmental Science and Management and director of the University’s Centre for Climate Change Studies, is supervising a student project which will provide new information on weather patterns in the region.

“Over much of the east coast of Australia rainfall has been decreasing markedly since about 1950 by 10 to 50mm of rainfall per decade. However, some regions like the North Coast of NSW have often had reasonable rainfall, while other regions miss out,” Professor Jones said.

“Through this study we will be able to tell whether rainfall patterns across the Richmond and Tweed catchments are uniform, whether there has been a shift in rainfall intensity in recent decades and whether there are long-term trends or patterns which could enable us to predict future rainfall patterns.”

The researchers will be working with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) in Brisbane which is supplying databases for the two regions, but the researchers are also seeking rainfall and other weather records which are being kept by people living in the region.

Professor Jones said there were very few long-term databases for the Richmond and Tweed catchments.

“We are looking for records that members of the community might be keeping, that are not part of the Bureau’s databases. We are very interested in contacting residents who have been making rainfall measurements over periods greater than 20 years in the Richmond and Tweed catchments,” he said.

He said some residents might also be collecting additional data through small weather stations.

“We are going to look at rainfall trends from the coast to inland and hope to look at the changing intensity of rainfall over the years. We will also be looking at how temperatures have changed, along with wind speed, direction and evaporation. We also want to look at the effect of vegetation on rainfall,” he said.

Anyone who has rainfall records to contribute to this study can contact Professor Jones on 02 66203009 or via email

Photo: Associate Professor Graham Jones is seeking rainfall records from the Richmond River and Tweed River catchments.

Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.