Things weren’t so bad from 1260 – 1860, at least, as far as they can tell.
The researchers are convinced theirs is the first millennial-length Australian drought record. The researchers, sensibly, think we might want to pay attention to the Pacific cycles and store a bit more water.
A very good question — and though the study is corroborated with historic studies, and instruments in Australia as much as it can be, the bottom line is that we really need millenial proxies from Australia, but at the moment, this is the best we have.
Law Dome is a spot in East Antarctica that is almost due south of Perth, Western Australia.
Things were dry during the medieval warm period, then wetter during the little ice age: When the previously published LD summer sea salt rainfall proxy and the new IPO reconstructions are combined, the three major epochs (two dry – AD 1000–1260, AD 1920-2009 and one wet – AD 1260–1860) previously identified in Vance et al. Eight IPO positive phase mega-droughts are observed, five during the first dry epoch (Fig. The longest mega-drought, of 39 y duration (AD 1174–1212), occurred at the end of a century of pronounced IPO positive drought conditions, with 80 of the 111 y period AD 1102–1212 in drought.
They don’t entertain the thought that past warm periods and droughts have nothing to do with CO2.
Nonetheless, it is clear that this study identifies far fewer mega-droughts during the long, wetter middle epoch of AD 1260–1860.
Combined with an eastern Australian rainfall proxy from Law Dome, the first millennial-length Australian mega-drought (5 y duration) reconstruction is presented.
Eight mega-droughts are identified including one 39 y drought (AD 1174–1212), which occurred during an unprecedented century of aridity (AD 1102–1212). They appear to be quietly suggesting that Australia was “warm” in the medieval warm period, then using this to say that droughts might get worse under future warming.