Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Australian droughts may worsen, team warns

Matthew Cawood in the Land (Australia): Droughts in eastern Australia could grow more extreme this century, as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is amplified by a warming climate. That's the hypothesis of a team of Australian scientists that has established some consistency in ENSO's behaviour under climate change - something that has eluded climate scientists for 20 years.

The team got some answers when they began working with the last two generations of climate models which involve working through the dynamic interplay of ENSO factors such as sub-surface ocean waves, wind stress, evaporation and cloud formation.

A team from the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, a joint venture between CSIRO and the Bureau of Meterology, found the new models show strong agreement on warming's effects in the tropical Pacific. The climate models forecast that during 21st Century El Nino events the western Pacific will be progressively drier compared to 20th Century El Ninos, while the eastern Pacific gets wetter.

But exactly how that will play out for Australia is still being studied. "The hypothesis is that you change things in the ENSO engine room - the tropical Pacific - you change things elsewhere," lead researcher, Scott Power said...

The Tirari Desert viewed by NASA

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