New research from The Australian National University (ANU) and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science suggests natural rainfall variation is so great that it could take a human lifetime for significant climate signals to appear in regional or global rainfall measures.
Even exceptional droughts like those over the Murray Darling Basin (2000-2009) and the 2011 to 2017 Californian drought fit within the natural variations in the long-term precipitation records, according to the statistical method used by the researchers.
This has significant implications for policymakers in the water resources, irrigation and agricultural industries.
"Our findings suggest that for most parts of the world, we won't be able to recognise long term or permanent changes in annual rainfall driven by climate change until they have already occurred and persisted for some time," said Professor Michael Roderick from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.
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Image via Judd McCullum