Sensitivity of northwest Australian tropical cyclone activity to ITCZ migration since 500 CE

Rhawn F. Denniston, Caroline C. Ummenhofer, Kerry Emanuel, Roberto Ingrosso, Francesco S. R. Pausata, Alan D. Wanamaker, Matthew S. Lachniet, Kenneth T. Carr, Yemane Asmerom, Victor J. Polyak, Jonathan Nott, Wei Zhang, Gabriele Villarini, John Cugley, Darren Brooks, David Woods, William F. Humphreys

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Tropical cyclones (TCs) regularly form in association with the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), and thus, its positioning has implications for global TC activity. While the poleward extent of the ITCZ has varied markedly over past centuries, the sensitivity with which TCs responded remains poorly understood from the proxy record, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. Here, we present a high-resolution, composite stalagmite record of ITCZ migrations over tropical Australia for the past 1500 years. When integrated with a TC reconstruction from the Australian subtropics, this time series, along with downscaled climate model simulations, provides an unprecedented examination of the dependence of subtropical TC activity on meridional shifts in the ITCZ. TCs tracked the ITCZ at multidecadal to centennial scales, with a more southward position enhancing TC-derived rainfall in the subtropics. TCs may play an increasingly important role in Western Australia's moisture budgets as subtropical aridity increases due to anthropogenic warming.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadd9832
Number of pages11
JournalScience Advances
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2023


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