Modeling the impact of historical land cover change on Australia's regional climate

McAlpine, C. A. and Syktus, J. and Deo, R. C. and Lawrence, P. J. and McGowan, H. A. and Watterson, I. G. and Phinn, Stuart (2007) Modeling the impact of historical land cover change on Australia's regional climate. Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (22). L22711-1. ISSN 0094-8276


The Australian landscape has been transformed extensively since European settlement. However, the potential impact of historical land cover change (LCC) on regional climate has been a secondary consideration in the climate change projections. In this study, we analyzed data from a pair of ensembles (10 members each) for the period 1951-2003 to quantify changes in regional climate by comparing results from pre-European and modern-day land cover characteristics. The results of the sensitivity simulations showed the following: a statistically significant warming of the surface temperature, especially for summer in eastern Australia (0.4-2°C) and southwest Western Australia (0.4-0.8°C); a statistically significant decrease in summer rainfall in southeast Australia; and increased surface temperature in eastern regions during the 2002/2003 El Niño drought event. The simulated magnitude and pattern of change indicates that LCC has potentially been an important contributing factor to the observed changes in regional climate of Australia.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published verison due to publisher copyright policy. Article number L22711
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2011 04:32
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2016 05:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change; computer simulation; drought; El Nino; land cover; landscape change; precipitation intensity; regional climate; sensitivity analysis; summer; surface temperature; vegetation dynamics
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
12 Built Environment and Design > 1205 Urban and Regional Planning > 120504 Land Use and Environmental Planning
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1029/2007GL031524

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