Thursday, November 28, 2013

North West Australia cyclone increase may have been caused by Asian forest fires

ABC (Australia): CSIRO research into the past and future climate of North West Australia's Pilbara region has uncovered a period of increased cyclone activity that may have been caused by Asian forest fires.PrintEmailPermalinkShare

When CSIRO research scientist Dr Don McFarlane looked at the Pilbara's climate history right back to 1910, there was one period of wet weather that really stood out. From 1996 to 2001 the region had an extraordinary period of cyclone activity.

"The period between about 1996 and 2001 was very much wetter and a lot more tropical cyclones came through that period," he says. It was the kind of climate change that you didn't have to be a meteorologist to notice.

"It had about a 50 percent increase in its average rainfall for that long period. And I think those people that were in the Pilbara at that time probably remember that period; a lot of the rivers were running," he says.

Dr McFarlane says research from the Indian Ocean Climate Initiative has indicated that air pollution from Asia may be the explanation for this anomalous weather. "Some of the wetting that has been occurring in the '90s and early 2000s might have been a result of forest fires and pollution generally coming down from that South East Asian or even East Asian area," he says....

Cyclone Narelle off the coast of Western Australia, January 11, 2013, shot by NASA

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