Scientists link Indian Ocean oscillation to regional extreme weather

By on December 11, 2013

A new study has linked increasingly frequent incidents of extreme weather around the Indian Ocean to a phenomenon similar to El Nino, New Scientist reported.

The Indian Ocean Dipole is an oscillation of warm water across the equator. Australian researchers have determined that the dipole’s positive phase is at least partly responsible for droughts in Australia and dry weather in Indonesia, as well as other weather events in the area. A 2007 study of fossilized coral indicated that the El Nino-like phenomenon has caused extreme weather for the last 6,500 years.

The researchers found that the strength of positive dipole events is reduced by wind blowing in the opposite direction of the oscillation. This wind, however, is expected to weaken as global temperatures rise.

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