Research Spotlight: Rainfall variability increasing in northern Australia



Rainfall variability, including the frequency of extreme floods and droughts, is increasing in northeastern Australia, a new study shows. Rainfall in Queensland is variable from year to year, partly due to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. As massive corals grow, their skeletons create yearly growth patterns, similar to tree rings, and record a wealth of proxy information about the corals' environment over several centuries. Flood events show up in nearshore annually banded coral skeletons as luminescent lines. (Paleoceanography, doi:10.1029/2010PA002050, 2011)