Graewe, U. and Wolff, J.-O. and Ribbe, J. (2010) Impact of climate variability on an East Australian bay. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 86 (2). pp. 247-257. ISSN 0272-7714
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Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WDV-4XSJVTB-1&_user=1472215&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000052720&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=1472215&md5=311236d437c75909b7738627a12acb44
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2009.11.020
The climate along the subtropical east coast of Australia is changing significantly. Rainfall has decreased by about 50 mm per decade and temperature increased by about 0.1 °C per decade during the last 50 years. These changes are likely to impact upon episodes of hypersalinity and the persistence of inverse circulations, which are often characteristic features of the coastal zone in the subtropics and are controlled by the balance between evaporation, precipitation, and freshwater discharge. In this study, observations and results from a general ocean circulation model are used to investigate how current climate trends have impacted upon the physical characteristics of the Hervey Bay, Australia. During the last two decades, mean precipitation in Hervey Bay deviates by 13% from the climatology (1941–2000). In the same time, the river discharge is reduced by 23%. In direct consequence, the frequency of hypersaline and inverse conditions has increased. Moreover, the salinity flux out of the bay has increased and the evaporation induced residual circulation has accelerated. Contrary to the drying trend, the occurrence of severe rainfalls, associated with floods, leads to short-term fluctuations in the salinity. These freshwater discharge events are used to estimate a typical response time for the bay.
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