River Murray’s record low flow

Published on 31 March 2011 by in News


Image by Peripitus (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0

The dramatic drop in water flowing through the River Murray between 1998 and 2008 was probably a once-in-1500-year event according to a new study by researchers at the University of Melbourne.

The study reports that although streamflow has varied considerably in the last 200 years, there is a 98% chance that the streamflow deficit experienced between 1998–2008 is the worst experienced since first European settlement.

“This research shows that what we’ve experienced over the past decade was an incredibly rare event” said Ailie Gallant co-author of the paper. “These findings should help us make more accurate predictions of what to expect with the River Murray system as the climate changes”

Researchers from the University of Melbourne’s South Eastern Australian Recent Climate History (SEARCH) team used palaeoclimate records to reconstruct the streamflow history for the River Murray from the period 1783-1988.

“Looking at variations recorded in the annual growth bands of tree rings and coral records allows us to extend our knowledge of natural climate variability centuries before weather records are available” said SEARCH researcher Joelle Gergis.

The paper will be published in a special issue of the journal Water Resources Research that will focus on natural resource management issues facing the Murray–Darling Basin. A copy of the paper is available on SEARCH’s publictation page. .

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International Palaeoclimate meeting in The Age

Published on 09 June 2010 by in News


Image courtesy of the Australian Institute of Marine Science

Over 70 palaeoclimate scientists from across Australia and around the world were in Melbourne last week for the Aus2K regional workshop.

The meeting was an opportunity for scientists to present the latest palaeoclimate reconstruction data for our region; information that will feed into the fifth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due in 2014.

The event was hosted at the University of Melbourne’s School of Earth Sciences.

The workshop was co-organised by SEARCH project lead researcher, Dr Joelle Gergis, along with Past Global Changes (PAGES).

The Age featured a page three interview with Dr Gergis and fellow SEARCH Project researcher Prof David Karoly.

Further information about the Aus2K workshop is available from the PAGES website.

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Palaeoclimate scientists to meet in Melbourne

Published on 31 March 2010 by in News


International palaeoclimate researchers will visit Melbourne from 31 May – 2 June for the Past Global Changes (PAGES) Aus2k workshop, to be hosted by the University of Melbourne’s School of Earth Sciences.

The workshop will target the need for extended estimates of regional-scale climate variables to reduce uncertainties about climate change and its potential impacts in the Australasian region.  For further information about the workshop, or to register, please visit the PAGES Aus2k website. .

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