Tropical Oceans Provide Glimpse Into Australia's Future

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12th October 2010, 12:00pm - Views: 1639

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AAS 31/10

12 October 2010

Tropical oceans provide glimpse into Australia's future

El Niño events are linked to severe droughts in northern and eastern Australia, while their

flipside, La Niña events, can bring flooding rains.

Scientists from Australia have received a $350,000 grant from the Australian Research

Council for a three year project to piece together the history of El Niño. This knowledge will

enhance our ability to predict whether the future will herald more extreme droughts or more

severe floods.

Climate modeller Dr Steven Phipps from the Climate Change Research Centre at the

University of New South Wales and Dr Helen McGregor, an El Niño researcher from the

University of Wollongong who heads the project, will present their work at the 2010 UK-

Australia Frontiers of Science – Marine Science Meeting, being held by the Australian

Academy of Science and the UK Royal Society in Perth today.

The team is exploring the physical mechanisms that have driven past changes in weather

patterns, by combining data from fossil corals with climate model simulations. The annual

growth rings of the corals provide a record of seasonal changes in ocean temperatures,

while the models will allow the scientists to explore the links between El Niño and global

climate change.

‘Australia is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts caused by changing weather

patterns,” says Dr Phipps.

‘That is why understanding El Niño is essential in anticipating changes in drought and rain in

the future which will help us to adapt Australia’s valuable agricultural and farming industries

to climate change and to manage our precious water resources,’ he says.

Media are invited to attend the event and arrange interviews.

Further information and program:

Event:  2010 UK-Australia Frontiers of Science Marine Science Meeting

Date:  10 to 12 October 2010

Venue:  Rendezvous Observation City Hotel, 140 The Esplanade, Scarborough, Perth

Media Contact:  Sue McKenna on 0011 61 8 9254 4044 or 0424 196 771

or Kerry Hodson on 0011 61 8 9447 0756 or 0438 565 086

Sue or Kerry at the conference venue on 0011 61 8 9340 5628

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