Antarctica, Australia and Climate Change
Rising greenhouse gas levels are causing stronger winds over the Southern Ocean. It's good news for Antarctica, writes Tim Radford, as the circumpolar winds are keeping its ice caps cold. But Australia is getting hotter and drier - and its problems will only increase.
The answer to one of the enduring puzzles of global warming - the apparently sluggish response of the Antarctic continent to rising greenhouse gas levels - may have been settled by Australian scientists.
And, in the course of doing so, they may also have solved another problem: the parching of Australia itself.
Nerilie Abram, of the Australian National University's Research School of Earth Sciences, and colleagues outline their findings in Nature Climate Change.
They report that they looked at the pattern of climate in the southern hemisphere and have concluded that the Southern Ocean winds that normally deliver rain to South Australia are being pushed further south towards Antarctica.
Their research was focused on a meteorological phenomenon known - although probably only to climate scientists - as the Southern Annular Mode, which marks the pattern of climate variability south of the equator.
Australian Outback image via Shutterstock.
Read more at ENN Affiliate, The Ecologist.