Australian scientists blame Indian Ocean for "drought"

Given the vast dishonesty over global warming that has characterized climate science, I think I may be forgiven for questioning ALL climate science. The claim below seems junk to me. Both North-Eastern Australia and South-Eastern Australia are roughly equidistant from the Indian ocean so if the Indian ocean is involved in causing rainfall, how come huge areas of the North are having record floods while the South is having a slight downturn in rain?

Maybe I am missing something but climate scientists have their dogmatic selves to blame if their credibility is zero with the roughly 50% of the population who do not believe in global warming. I live roughly halfway between the flooded North and the drier South and it rains here nearly every day so "drought" is a very strange word to use about the present situation. Such misuse of words also does little to establish the credibility of these "scientists"

SCIENTISTS believe the Indian Ocean is the culprit behind the crippling drought of Australia's southeastern states and not direct El Nino events. "Our findings will help to improve seasonal rainfall forecasts and therefore directly benefit water and agricultural management," Caroline Ummenhofer, a post doctoral fellow at the University of New South Wales, said.

The group of Australian scientists, who made the discovery, has detailed for the first time how a variable and irregular cycle of warming and cooling of ocean water dictates whether moisture-bearing winds are carried across the southern half of Australia. The phenomenon, known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), has been in its positive or neutral phase since 1992 - the longest period of its kind since records began in the late 19th Century, according to the study. "When the IOD is in its negative phase, a pattern occurs with cool Indian Ocean water west of Australia and warm Timor Sea water to the north. "This generates winds that pick up moisture from the ocean and then sweep down towards southern Australia to deliver wet conditions," a spokesman for UNSW said.

And to make matters worse, this period has coincided with a trend towards higher average air temperatures over the land, which the study says may be linked to human-induced climate change. "The ramifications of drought for this region are dire, with acute water shortages for rural and metropolitan areas, record agricultural losses, the drying out of two of Australia's major river systems and far-reaching ecosystem damage," Dr Ummenhofer said. "During this latest drought ... recent higher air temperatures across southeastern Australia have exacerbated the problem."

Dr Ummenhofer expected the study, with further development, would enable forecasters to predict rainfall three to six months in advance. "There is certainly scope for a lot more work and a lot more understanding," she said. "Hopefully there will be more engagement with the Bureau (of Meteorology) to possibly incorporate this into their operational forecasting." She said there were indications the positive phase was becoming more frequent than the negative, leaving a grim outlook for farmers. "And that would be really alarming," she said.

It is understood negative phases, which bring rain to the southern states, are most likely to occur from March to May. The study explains the current record-breaking drought in southeastern Australia and solves the mystery of why a string of La Nina events in the Pacific Ocean, which usually brings rain, has failed to break it. It also reveals the causes of other iconic extreme droughts in recorded history.

"More than the variability associated with the El Nino-La Nina cycle in the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean Dipole is the key factor for driving major southeast Australian droughts over the past 120 years," Dr Ummenhofer said.

The team, jointly led by Professor Matthew England from the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre, has detailed its findings in a paper, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Review Letters. The team includes researchers from CSIRO Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research and the University of Tasmania.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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