Indian Ocean phenomenon spells climate trouble for Australia
The work led by The Australian National University (ANU) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes has a silver lining, helping to improve our understanding of climate variations and the management of risk caused by Indian Ocean variability.
Lead researcher Professor Nerilie Abram said the phenomenon her team studied, known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), was a big player in the severe drought and record hot temperatures last year.
"The 2019 event, known as a positive Indian Ocean Dipole, was a big one. It cut off one of the major sources for southern Australia's winter and spring rainfall, and set up the extremely hot and dry conditions for the terrible fires that ravaged Australia this summer," said Professor Abram from the Research School of Earth Sciences and the Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes at ANU.