Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Antarctica and Australia: Climatically Related?

One may ask, "How can the hot sandy continent of Australia and the cold wintery continent of Antarctica be connected in relation to climate?" Researchers have noticed a trend between the two when it comes to weather patterns. When Australia is going through a rough drought spell, Antarctica is having a blazing snow storm. When one area is having extreme weather occurrence, so is the other. It was the harsh drought and heavy snowstorm occurring at the same time that caught scientists' eye for further investigation.

Study has been going on from the ice cores within the Law Dome ice field in Antarctica for the past 30 years. It is almost directly south from the bottom tip of Australia. It was when researchers compared the records of snowfall from the past 750 years with the meteorological records of precipitation that the realization occurred. The researchers found that 40% of rainfall variation records in Australia matched the snow falls in Antarctica. These patterns have intensified over the past few decades. With both continents receiving these unusual weather patterns, it surely outlies the range of natural variation. What was the main cause for this relationship in drastic weather patterns? The answer is human activity and it is continuously increasing the strength of the connection.

With reduced ozone and increased amounts of carbon dioxide, this creates an atmospheric circulation pattern in the ocean that brings drier air to the lower farming regions of Australia and heavier snowfall to the top of Antarctica. It is very unlikely that these unusual weather patterns would just be happening at the same time that humans are also causing out of the normal climate change.

1 comment:

  1. It is not surprising that both areas may be affected by events in the Southern Hemisphere. Perhaps this information might be useful for climate modelers to test their models against?