Friday, November 26, 2010

Southeast Queensland drought likely caused by climate variability rather than climate change

FavStocks via Green Car Congress: The recent South-East Queensland (SEQ) drought was likely caused by shifts associated with climate variability over decades rather than climate change, according to the findings of a team of CSIRO researchers led by Dr Wenju Cai. The research team aimed to determine whether the SEQ’s recent rainfall reductions were partly due to climate change and, if so, whether dry conditions will occur there more often in the future.

…The science team assessed the role of climate change by using the same 24 models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Their results show that the recent drought in SEQ is not consistent with climate change projected by the models. Funded by the SEQ Urban Water Security Research Alliance, the study’s findings were published recently in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate.

[The team said:] “We found that, unlike in South-West Western Australia, climate change plays little part in the SEQ rainfall reduction, but cannot be ruled out. At this stage, renewal of a rain-generating process with La NiƱa bringing higher rainfall to SEQ might be expected to last for 10 to 20 years. Ongoing research is examining whether increased temperatures linked to climate change in the future will alter the frequency, intensity, and duration of drought. We are also investigating if the rising temperature due to climate change has played a part in the unprecedented low water storage level of the recent drought and how climate change will impact on climate variability….

The Somerset Dam wall in Southeast Queensland, Australia, shot by Ezykron, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

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