Have Australia's Rains Moved to Antarctica?
Image credit: suburbanbloke/Flickr
For more than a decade, Australia has been in the grips of a drought. The severity of the dry spell is the worst since European settlement and so far, this summer has offered no relief.
Tas van Ommen and Vin Morgan, scientists at the Australian Antarctic Division, came to the conclusion after studying ice cores from East Antarctica's Law Dome. They found that snowfall in the last 10 years has been dramatically greater than at any other point in the last 750 years.
For 60 years, the team found, two corridors of air have been working together to keep Australia dry. One pushes moist air south towards Antarctica. The other forces dry air north over Australia. Moreover, their data suggests that these air currents have been strengthening.
This pattern, they report, lies outside the range of accepted variability and is "consistent with some projections of circulation changes arising from anthropogenic climate change." Whether human action is responsible or not, the data indicates that the trend is still strengthening, meaning Australia's drought is forecast to continue and may even get worse.
Read more about drought in Australia:
Global Warming to Blame for 37% of Droughts
In Australia, Drying Lakes Means Acidic Dust, Potential Health Threats, and Major Bioremediation Efforts
Millions of Australian Wildlife Devastated by Weather Extremes
Australian Heatwave: "Climate Change Link is Very Likely"