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The role of land use change on the development and evolution of the West Coast trough, convective clouds, and precipitation in Southwest Australia

Nair, U.S., Wu, Y., Kala, J., Lyons, T.J., Pielke, R.A. and Hacker, J.M. (2011) The role of land use change on the development and evolution of the West Coast trough, convective clouds, and precipitation in Southwest Australia. Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, 116 (7). D07103.

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    Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010JD014950
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    Abstract

    Land clearing for agricultural purposes in southwest Australia has created a landscape where a 750 km rabbit-proof fence separates 13 million hectares of croplands from the remnant native vegetation to the east. The Bunny Fence Experiment (BuFex) was conducted in the vicinity of the intended vermin-proof boundary in December 2005 and August 2007. The experiment examined the role of land cover change (LCC) on the preferential formation of clouds over the native vegetation that often terminates along the vermin-proof fence as well as the regional rainfall reduction observed in this region. Observations and numerical model analysis show that the formation and development of the west coast trough (WCT), which is a synoptic-scale feature that initiates spring and summertime convection, is impacted by land cover change and that the cloud fields induced by the WCT would extend further west in the absence of the LCC. The surface convergence patterns associated with the wintertime WCT circulation is substantially altered by LCC, due to changes in both WCT dynamics and surface aerodynamic roughness, leading to a rainfall decrease to the west of the rabbit fence. It is found that the LCC in southwest Australia is indeed responsible for preferential formation of clouds over native vegetation and contributes to the observed rainfall reduction in this region.”

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
    Publisher: American Geophysical Union
    Copyright: American Geophysical Union
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4041
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