Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dust storm in Australia

Southeastern Australia is recovering from the worst dust storm in decades, that damaged farmland and practically closing down Sydney and the surrounding area.

The satellite image, from NASA's terrific Earth Observatory web-site, shows the brown dust cloud stretching from Queensland far south into New South Wales, before it moved off the coast.

The storm was made possible by a dry and record hot August, conditions that may continue thanks to the development of El Nino conditions in the Pacific. The western Pacific, including Australia, Papua New Guinea, and some western Pacific island countries, typically experience dry weather during El Nino event due to longitudinal shift in the major pressure systems. For example, during the 1997/98 El Nino, there were extensions fires in PNG, droughts in Australia, and major food shortages and lost agricultural productivity in Fiji.

1 comment:

Tony said...

This dust storm was mainly due to dry flood silt left on the flood plains following winter flooding of the diamantina river and coopers creek. The silt is pushed onto the flood plains, the water recedes, the silt dries and the wind blows. Nothing to do with el nino.