Impact of climate variability on an East Australian bay

Graewe, U. and Wolff, J. -O. and Ribbe, J. ORCID: (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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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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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy. Author's version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2009 04:24
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 23:04
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change impact; coastal ocean; observations; modelling; Australia; Hervey Bay; salinity; ocean circulation
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
04 Earth Sciences > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370201 Climate change processes
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3708 Oceanography > 370803 Physical oceanography
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts)
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