Antarctic and tropical climate variability over the last millennium, and impacts on southern Australian rainfall

Ocean winds keeps Australia dry and Antarctica cold

Project summary

Water resource management is one of the greatest challenges facing sustainable agriculture and urban populations across southern Australia. Key players driving catastrophic droughts in southern Australia are the tropical Indian Ocean Dipole and polar Southern Annual Mode climate systems, which affect moisture availability and transport pathways. Our collaborative research project draws together a uniquely-skilled research team to develop targeted coral, ice and cave reconstructions of these climate systems and their impacts on Australian rainfall through the last millennium. This fundamental new knowledge of the drivers of Australian rainfall variability will aid improved predictability of future changes in our valuable water resources.

Related publications

Abram, N.J., Mulvaney, R., Vimeux, F., Phipps, S.J. Turner, J. and England, M.E. (2014). Evolution of the Southern Annular Mode during the past millennium. Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2235.


This research is supported by ARC Discovery grant DP140102059, 2014-2016. It is carried out in collaboration with:

  • Dr Robert Mulvaney, British Antarctic Survey
  • Dr Tessa Vance, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC
  • Dr Mark Curran, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC and Australian Antarctic Division
  • Dr Pauline Treble, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Our work in Indonesia is also carried in collaboration with Michael Gagan, and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

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