Evidence of impacts from rising temperature on inflows to the Murray-Darling Basin
Article first published online: 2 APR 2008
Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 35, Issue 7, April 2008
How to Cite
2008), Evidence of impacts from rising temperature on inflows to the Murray-Darling Basin, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L07701, doi:10.1029/2008GL033390., and (
- Issue published online: 2 APR 2008
- Article first published online: 2 APR 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 MAR 2008
- Manuscript Received: 23 JAN 2008
- rising temperature;
- inflow reduction;
- climate change
 The 2001–2007 Australian drought was the hottest on record with inflows to Australia's longest river system, the Murray-Darling, reaching an historical low. Here we examine the relative importance of rising temperature and decreasing rainfall over its catchment, the Murray Darling Basin (MDB). Although annual-total inflow is more sensitive to rainfall over the southern MDB, where rainfall since 2001, has been the lowest on record, this alone can not explain the observed inflow decline. A relationship exists between inflow variations and fluctuations of temperature not associated with rainfall in the austral winter and spring: a rise of 1°C leads to an approximate 15% reduction in the climatological annual inflow. Our results provide strong evidence that rising temperatures due to the enhanced greenhouse effect have a strong impact on southern Australia's water resources, in addition to any reduction in rainfall, and project a long-term decline in inflows to this river system as the greenhouse effect continues.