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Showing posts from December, 2015

500 years of drought and flood: trees and corals reveal Australia’s climate history

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500 years of drought and flood: trees and corals reveal Australia's climate historyPatrick Baker, University of Melbourne; Chris Turney, UNSW Australia, and Jonathan Palmer, UNSW AustraliaAustralia is the land of drought and flooding rains, and in a recent paper we’ve shown that’s been the case for more than 500 years. As part of our Australia and New Zealand Drought Atlas we’ve published the most detailed record of drought and wet periods (or “pluvials”) since 1500.The data reveal that despite the severity of the Millennium Drought, the five worst single years of drought happened before 1900. But 2011 was the wettest year in our 513-year record.The dominant theme of Australia’s drought history is variability. We may get one year of extremely wet conditions (for example in 2011) or we might get six years of extremely dry conditions (such as 2003-2009).North Queensland may be flooded out while Victoria suffers with drought. Or in extreme circumstances, the entire eastern half of Au…