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Study points to more drought and flooding rains

Cath McAloon, Monday October 14, 2013 - 17:44 EDT
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Climate models have allowed scientists to predict the impact global warming will have on El Nino and La Nina events. - ABC

Weather scientists say climate models indicate El Nino and La Nina events will intensify as a result of global warming.

Scientists studied the latest models and say projections show global warming interferes with the impact El Nino sea-surface temperature patterns have on rainfall.

Dr Scott Power, of the Bureau of Meteorology, says the research has only looked at effects in the equatorial Pacific region.

They found global warming will cause an intensification of El Nino-driven dry conditions in the western Pacific, and increased rainfall in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.

"Given that the Pacific is so important to the world's atmospheric circulation and so important to Australia's atmospheric circulation, its winds, its rainfall, etc, I think it's a reasonable hypothesis that the impact of El Nino on Australia is going to change, but we need further research to actually determine the extent to which that is true and the details of those changes," Dr Power said.

"What we need to do next is to examine what the implications of those changes are for Australia."


© ABC 2013

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