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AGU journal highlights -- June 23, 2011
Date:6/23/2011

Research Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, USA.


2. Did Aboriginal forest burning affect Australian summer monsoon?

For thousands of years, Aboriginal Australians burned forests, creating grasslands. Some studies have suggested that in addition to changing the landscape, these burning practices also affected the timing and intensity of the Australian summer monsoon. Different vegetation types can alter evaporation, roughness, and surface reflectivity, leading to changes in the weather and climate.

On the basis of an ensemble of experiments with a global climate model, Notaro et al. conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of decreased vegetation cover on the summer monsoon in northern Australia. They find that although decreased vegetation cover would have had only minor effects during the height of the monsoon season, during the premonsoon season, burning-induced vegetation loss would have caused significant decreases in precipitation and increases in temperature. Thus, by burning forests, Aboriginals altered the local climate, effectively extending the dry season and delaying the start of the monsoon season.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2011GL047774, 2011
http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011GL047774

Title: Did aboriginal vegetation burning impact on the Australian summer monsoon?

Authors: Michael Notaro: Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA;

Karl-Heinz Wyrwoll: School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia;

Guangshan Chen: Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


3. Determining the trigger of East Asian dust storms

In the past two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the occurren
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Contact: Peter Weiss
pweiss@agu.org
202-777-7507
American Geophysical Union
Source:Eurekalert

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