Extraordinarily Warm Temperatures Above Antarctica Cause Hot and Dry Extremes in Australia, Researchers Warn


Australian hot and dry extremes can have devastating effects on human health and resources.

Changes in springtime winds high above the South Pole are set to trigger higher than usual temperatures and fire-prone weather conditions in Australia, an international study involving Monash scientists has warned.

“Attention so far has focused on the importance of stratospheric warming in the Northern Hemisphere and its impact on extreme climate,” said study author Dr Ghyslaine Boschat, a Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes and School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash.

“Our study is significant because it is the first of its kind to identify and quantify a direct link between variations in the Antarctic polar vortex in spring and Australian hot and dry extremes from late spring to early summer,” she said.

“This has major implications for the predictability of extreme climate in Australia, as well as possibly other regions of the Southern Hemisphere.” The study, led by Dr Eun-Pa Lim at the Bureau of Meteorology, is published today in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience.

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