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Causes of the Millennium Drought - Coursework Example

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"Causes of the Millennium Drought" paper evaluates factors affecting the climate of South-Eastern Australia, which can be the causes of the Millennium drought. The paper analyzes the effects of ENSO, Indian Ocean Dipole, Sub-tropical ridge, and Southern Annular Mode on the rainfall formation in SEA…
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Causes of the Millennium Drought
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Download file to see previous pages The causes of the Millennium drought are the climate processes that lead to the creation of the extreme decreasing rainfall conditions in the years 1995-2009. The main feature of the drought was significant rainfall decline in autumn months. This feature distinguishes Big Dry from the Federation and WWII droughts (Verdon-Kidd, and Kiem, 2009).

Southeastern Australia suffered from drought conditions many times. However, the Big Dry was the most severe drought in the history of this region (Sheffield and Wood, 2011). During the Millennium Drought, the mean rainwater inflow was 512 mm for the year in southeastern Australia. It was 12 percent below the 1900–2010 mean annual rainfall established at the level 582 mm. The difference is much greater than the difference for the previous driest 13-year period lasted 1937–1949, which was 46 mm.

Another interesting feature was that the Millennium drought in southeastern Australia took place at a time when the rest of the continent was facing more than average rainwater inflow. The north-west part of the continent experienced high summer rainfall. The previous droughts in southeastern Australia tended to occur when dry conditions were typical for the whole continent (South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative, 2012).

Climatologists came to the conclusion that one factor cannot affect solely on the formation of the extreme drought conditions in Southeastern Australia during the Big Dry. The main factors are the large-scale atmospheric circulations (fig. 1.), which include El Niño Southern Oscillation ENSO, Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), Southern Annular Mode (SAM), and the intensity of the subtropical ridge (STR) (Verdon-Kidd, and Kiem, 2009).

ENSO is connected with the temperature difference in the western and eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean. Its main characteristics are the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), which is a measure of the pressure difference between Darwin and Tahiti (Clarke, 2008). El Niño creates dry and warm conditions in Southeastern Australia. The reverse process La Niña results in rainfall in SEA (Murphy and Timbal, 2008). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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