The historic flooding that occurred in Australia between 2010 and 2011 caused worldwide sea level to drop dramatically, according to researchers from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
"It's a beautiful illustration of how complicated our climate system is. The smallest continent in the world can affect sea level worldwide. Its influence is so strong that it can temporarily overcome the background trend of rising sea levels that we see with climate change," NCAR scientist and head researcher John Fasullo said.
According to the research, the three atmospheric patterns that had happened over the Indian and Pacific Oceans increased precipitation over Australia in 2010 and 2011. The occurrence caused worldwide sea level rising to dropped measurably. This occurrence had effect change in sea levels causing higher temperatures and ice sheet melting worldwide.
Employing technological satellite instruments and other tools, the NCAR's study revealed that the historic flood that happened in Australia in 2010-2011 was highly distinct.
"A rare combination of two other semi-cyclic climate modes came together to drive such large amounts of rain over Australia that the continent, on average, received almost one foot (300 millimeters) of rain more than average. The initial effects of La Niña were to cool surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean and push moisture to the west. A climate pattern known as the Southern Annular Mode then coaxed the moisture into Australia's interior, causing widespread flooding across the continent. Later in the event, high levels of moisture from the Indian Ocean driven by the Indian Ocean Dipole collided with La Niña-borne moisture in the Pacific and pushed even more moisture into the continent's interior. Together, these influences spurred one of the wettest periods in Australia's recorded history," according to the study.
The study also associated Australia's effect on worldwide sea level rising on the continent's Outback. Outback, is Australia's most mountainous and dry region. It sits low at the continent's eastern interior. The lack of river in this region resulted in a dry environment in the western region. As a result, the heavy rainfall and floods in 2010-2011 remained in the continent, limited to the nearby oceans. Some of the rainfall evaporated in the dessert sun but the large percentage of the water evaporated in the dry, granular soil of the Western Plateau or overflow to the Lake Eyre basin in the east.
"No other continent has this combination of atmospheric set-up and topography. Only in Australia could the atmosphere carry such heavy tropical rains to such a large area, only to have those rains fail to make their way to the ocean, "Fasullo said.
The complete study will be published on September in Geophysical research Letters.
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