Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Calendars celebrate Indigenous weather knowledge

Wednesday January 2, 2013 - 12:52 EDT
ABC image
The project coordinator Emma Woodward with Mervyn Street, June Davis and Helen Malo and the Gooniyandi seasonal calendar. - ABC

The CSIRO has captured the detailed knowledge Aboriginal people have of Top End weather patterns in a series of calendars.

A Darwin-based team spent months working with language groups in the Kimberley to document the environmental indicators they use to predict weather.

Most Indigenous groups have their own names for between four and thirteen seasons a year, that are based on observed changes in things like water temperature, cloud formations and the presence of different insects and fish.

The Project Co-ordinator Emma Woodward says there is a huge amount of untapped information in Indigenous communities of the north.

"The seasons are very different to our own that are observed," she said.

"They don't follow the average Gregorian calendar that we follow.

"The attention to detail around meteorological observations, so the direction the wind's coming from, how strong the winds are, the cloud's that are in the sky.

"It's really amazing and there's certainly a lot of weather scientists and others to see what they can learn from it as well."

Gooniyandi elder June Davis was one of those who shared her knowledge to create a calendar relevant to the Fitzroy Valley area,

"We don't have Jan to December there, it's just our way of life, and our cycles and it's the way our ancestors lived," she said.

"I was lucky to have to elderly people with me so I could learn a lot from them."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

SA weather: Port Wakefield and Virginia under threat as rivers burst banks

10:05 EST

The South Australian towns of Port Wakefield and Virginia are under threat from floodwaters as the Wakefield and Gawler rivers burst their banks.

WA severe weather warning: Damaging winds, thunderstorms predicted for southern parts

09:45 EST

A severe weather warning has been issued for much of southern Western Australia, with winds of more than 100 kilometres per hour raising fears about potential damage to homes and property.

Tasmanian floods: Rain eases but warnings remain across the state

09:39 EST

Flood warnings are likely to stay in place across Tasmania for several days as rainfall continues, but the worst of the weather has passed, the weather bureau says.