The Australasian region covers a vast number of ecosystems and provides a diverse range of paleoenvironmental and climatic archives
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand and neighbouring islands in the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans. As part of the PAGES Regional 2K effort, the Aus2K group are considering the land and ocean areas bounded by 110°E–180°E and 0°S–50°S.
Reconstructions of past climate variability from Australasia are not only regionally important but are also globally significant as the area contains core dynamical regions of several major atmospheric and oceanic modes that influence both hemispheres and may be highly sensitive to future climate change e.g. El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), Australasian Monsoon, Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), and the Sub Tropical Ridge (STR).
The extent of Australasia’s annually-resolved palaeoclimate record was recently reviewed by Neukom and Gergis (2012). There are now over 50 individual/composite sites from the region that have been consolidated for high resolution climate analysis. While some long tree ring records from New Zealand and Australia cover the past 2,000 years, annual temperature reconstructions representative of the broad Australasian region are currently only possible over the last millennium.
Current research projects in the Aus2K working group include:
- Collection of multi-century coral records from Western Australia and Queensland, Australia
- Development of multi-century tree ring records from Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and New Zealand
- Multi-decadal circulation reconstructions for New Zealand, Tasman Sea region and Southern Hemisphere using synoptic regime classification
- Multi proxy temperature and precipitation spatial field reconstructions for Australia and the Southern Hemisphere
- Collection of multi century speleothem records from Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand
- Consolidation of Australia’s sedimentary records spanning the last 2000 years
- Collection of high resolution lake sediment records from Tasmania and Victoria
- Using climate system models to explore the drivers of climate variability and change in the Australasian region
Joelle Gergis (University of Melbourne) (also group data manager)
Drew Lorrey (NZ National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research NIWA)
Steven Phipps (University of New South Wales)
Raphael Neukom (University of Melbourne, University of Bern) (data manager)
Jonathan Tyler (University of Adelaide) (data manager)
If you'd like to be involved in Aus2k and take part in any discussions associated with the aims of the group, please sign up to the Aus2k listserver. Once subscribed to the Aus2K list, you will be able to exchange ideas as a wider community, which will be a great resource as we work towards developing future reconstructions as a community.
1. Reconstructing pre-20th century rainfall, temperature and pressure for South-eastern Australia using paleoclimate, documentary and early weather station data
Chief Investigator: Joelle Gergis
2. TASCLIM: High-resolution reconstruction of temperature and precipitation from Tasmanian lakes
Chief Investigator: Krystyna Saunders
If you would like your project to be associated with the Aus2k Working Group, please contact Joelle Gergis
Special issue articles
Posters & presentations
Radio interview: Climate detectives unlocking the secrets of climate change (ABC radio podcast, 26 Apr 2011) >mp3
Article: Past helps piece together future climate change (The Age, 31 May 2010) >HTML
Media Release: Scientists gather to reconstruct climate history (The University of Melbourne, 31 May 2010) >pdf