Australian droughts to become more intense

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Southern and southwestern Australia can expect longer, more intense droughts due to a lack of rainfall, according to Australian scientists.

Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes studied rainfall-based drought using the latest generation of climate models.

They found that the duration of droughts was closely aligned to changes in the average rainfall, but the intensity was much more closely connected to the combination of average rainfall and variability.

It was also found that agricultural and forested regions in the Amazon, Mediterranean and southern Africa can expect more frequent and intense droughts.

Central Europe and boreal forests will get wetter and suffer fewer droughts, but the droughts will be more intense.

Dr Anna Ukkola, lead author of the study, said, “Predicting future changes in drought is one of the greatest challenges in climate science but with this latest generation of models and the opportunity to combine different drought metrics in a more meaningful way we can gain a clearer insight into the future impacts of climate change.”

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