‘500 years of drought and flood: trees and corals reveal Australia’s climate history‘, The Conversation, 4 December 2015
The authors have published in a recent paper the most detailed record of Australia’s droughts and wet periods. It covers the period since 1500. The authors used tree rings and coral, both particularly sensitive to climate, to gather data.
The data reveal that despite the severity of the Millennium Drought, the five worst single years of drought happened before 1900. But 2011 was the wettest year in our 513-year record.
The dominant theme of Australia’s drought history is variability. We may get one year of extremely wet conditions (for example in 2011) or we might get six years of extremely dry conditions (such as 2003-2009).