Yesterday David Karoly from Melbourne University’s school of earth sciences told the Sydney Morning Herald that while individual events could not be attributed to climate change, the wild extremes being experienced on the continent were in keeping with scientists’ forecasts of more flooding associated with increased heavy rain events and more droughts as a result of high temperatures and more evaporation.
”On some measures, it’s the strongest La Nina in recorded history … [but] we also have record-high ocean temperatures in northern Australia, which means more moisture evaporating into the air,” he said. ”And that means lots of heavy rain.”
Regular commentator at this blog Luke is of a similar opinion and sent me two charts as supporting information. Click on the images for a larger, better view.
Luke writes about the charts:
“The first shows the 3pm vapour pressure (VP) averaged over eastern Australian the 3pm vapour – a measure of humidity. As one can see there is some correlation with eastern Australian rainfall.
“Also shown is Australian tropical sea surface temperatures (SST) averaged for the same period with vapour pressure at 3pm.
“Both SSTs and VP are the highest for the 2010 period – highest since 1970.
“These data are consistent with an enhanced AGW hydrological cycle i.e. much greater atmospheric water content and source of convection.
“I am not saying that AGW caused this La Nina but the data are consistent with AGW adding to the propensity for rainfall as suggested by CSIRO studies and AGW theory.
“Interestingly these January 2011 Brisbane and Fitzroy floods were not caused by tropical cyclones.
“The charts should be of interest to serious sceptics.”
Relevant CSIRO Report:
Abbs, D.J., McInnes, K.L. and Rafter, T. 2007, The impact of climate change on extreme rainfall and coastal sea levels over South East Queensland, Part 2: A high-resolution modelling study of the effect of climate change on the intensity of extreme rainfall events, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research – A report prepared for the Gold Coast City Council
Comment from David Karoly http://www.smh.com.au/environment/fates-conspire-to-concoct-a-recipe-for-disaster-20110111-19mp7.html