Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ocean primed for more El Nino

Space Daily via SPX: The ocean is warming steadily and setting up the conditions for stronger El Nino weather events, a new study has shown. A team of US, Australian, and Canadian researchers sampled corals from a remote island in Kiribati to build a 60-year record of ocean surface temperature and salinity. "The trend is unmistakeable, the ocean's primed for more El Nino events," says lead-author Dr Jessica Carilli, now based at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Team member Dr Helen McGregor from the Research School of Earth Sciences at The Australian National University said the change in El Nino patterns could have a major impact on Australia's weather. "During an El Nino event warm waters to the north of Australia move eastward, taking their rainfall with them," she said. "This changes the pattern of Australia's rainfall and droughts significantly."

El Ninos occurs irregularly every two to seven years and have often coincided with severe droughts in Queensland and New South Wales. The current conditions show that a weak El Nin
o has brought warmer and drier conditions to Australia for late 2014.

The team focused on regional differences in sea temperatures that generate the circulating winds known as the Walker Circulation, which drive the trade winds that bring moisture across the Pacific Ocean to the north of Australia.

The island from which the corals were sampled, Butaritari, was chosen for its location at one end of the Walker Circulation....

A causeway on Butaritari, shot by Tau Ľolunga, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 2.5 license

No comments: