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Australian Drying Linked to Greenhouse Gas Emissions July 18, 2014
Australia climate graphic
The agreement between observed and model simulated rainfall changes supports the idea that human activity contributed to the drying of southwestern Australia and that the drying will increase in the 21st century.
U.S. scientists have directly linked a decline in fall and winter rainfall across southwestern Australia to greenhouse gas emissions by using a new high-resolution climate model.

The finding came after NOAA researchers conducted several climate simulations that looked at long-term changes in rainfall for various regions of the world.

“This new high-resolution climate model is able to simulate regional-scale precipitation with considerably improved accuracy compared to previous generation models,” said Tom Delworth, a research scientist at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.

The model simulated both natural and man-made climate influences.

Since no natural variations could be linked to the Australian drying, the scientists concluded the trend is due to human activity.

Southern Australia’s rainfall began declining around 1970 and has since accelerated.

The model projects a continued decline in rainfall there for the rest of the 21st century.

This would have significant implications for regional water resources.

Graphic: NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory