Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A study led by ANU Professor Neville Abram, which claims climate is driving clouds south, resulting in less rain reaching Australia’s Southern Coast, has been published in the midst of massive flooding in South Australia. Greens of course blame climate change for the deluge.
The press release;
Australia’s west, south losing vital rain as climate change shifts winds, study finds
Rising greenhouse gases and ozone depletion over the Antarctic are increasingly pushing rain-bearing storm fronts away from Australia’s west and south, according to a new international study.
The research, which involved the Australian National University and 16 other institutions from around the world, has just been published in the Nature Climate Change journal.
It found Southern Ocean westerly winds and associated storms were shifting south, down towards Antarctica, and robbing southern parts of Australia of rain.
ANU Associate Professor Nerilie Abram, the lead Australian researcher, said this had contributed to a decline of more than 20 per cent in winter rainfall in southwestern Australia since the 1970s.
“That band of rainfall that comes in those westerly winds is shifting further south, so closer towards Antarctica,” Dr Abram, from the ANU’s Research School of Earth Sciences and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said.
The abstract of the study is rather opaque, and unfortunately the main study is paywalled. Interestingly the study seems to suggest natural variability may have been underestimated, which seems at odds with Professor Abram’s press statements.
Assessing recent trends in high-latitude Southern Hemisphere surface climate
Understanding the causes of recent climatic trends and variability in the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere is hampered by a short instrumental record. Here, we analyse recent atmosphere, surface ocean and sea-ice observations in this region and assess their trends in the context of palaeoclimate records and climate model simulations. Over the 36-year satellite era, significant linear trends in annual mean sea-ice extent, surface temperature and sea-level pressure are superimposed on large interannual to decadal variability. Most observed trends, however, are not unusual when compared with Antarctic palaeoclimate records of the past two centuries. With the exception of the positive trend in the Southern Annular Mode, climate model simulations that include anthropogenic forcing are not compatible with the observed trends. This suggests that natural variability overwhelms the forced response in the observations, but the models may not fully represent this natural variability or may overestimate the magnitude of the forced response.
Read more (Paywalled): http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n10/full/nclimate3103.html
So what about that flooding? As WUWT recently reported, South Australia is currently experiencing severe flooding and rainfall, and a statewide power blackout, thanks to their dependency on unreliable renewables backed by high voltage interconnectors from other states – above ground interconnector lines which are vulnerable to extreme weather. Greens of course are blaming climate for the intense storm.
Climate change is driving storms like South Australia’s
The storm which has ravaged South Australia is a disturbing preview of what’s likely to come if Australia fails to act on climate change.
Storms like the one which knocked out the entire South Australian electricity network yesterday are occurring in a warmer and wetter atmosphere, the Climate Council’s Professor Will Steffen said.
“These conditions, driven by climate change, are likely increasing the intensity of storms like the one in South Australia,” he said.
I suggest that the only conclusion we can draw from statements by Tim Flannery’s climate council, and the Abram study published in Nature, is that magic CO2 molecule is both driving both an intensification of storms, and it is also driving storms away from the southern coast of Australia.