ClimateWatch was developed by Earthwatch with the Bureau of Meteorology and The University of Melbourne to understand how changes in temperature and rainfall are affecting the seasonal behaviour of Australia's plants and animals. The first continental phenology project in the Southern Hemisphere, ClimateWatch enables every Australian to be involved in collecting and recording data that will help shape the country’s scientific response to climate change.
The video playlist below explains ClimateWatch, the need for data and how the indicator species were selected.
Timing is everything
Climate change is affecting rainfall and temperature across Australia, and is consequently triggering changes in the established flowering times, breeding cycles and migration movements and other phenological changes. Essentially ClimateWatch is based on phenology, the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate.
An indicator species is an organism whose presence, absence, or abundance reflects a specific environmental condition. Species have been selected based on the advice of our Science Advisory Panel. Our list includes both native and introduced species that meet our four essential selection criteria. In addition to meeting our essential criteria, species have also been selected as they meet optional criteria, i.e. indigenous.
Getting involved is easy
It's easy to get involved. Register online and simply choose the mammal, bird, insect, reptile or plants you are interested in or would like to keep an eye on and start recording what you see online. Once you have decided on a species to watch, it’s a good idea to think about how you can make ClimateWatch part of your regular weekly activities and to keep a pen and paper handy to make a note of your observations on the spot.
Spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues. After all, preserving our natural environment is everyone’s responsibility.
ClimateWatch is an initiative of Earthwatch, for more information visit www.earthwatch.org.au