Postgraduate Profiles

Fiona McRobie

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Thesis: The evolution of the Australian summer monsoon of the past 22,000 years

This thesis seeks to consider the driving mechanisms of the Australian monsoon system since the Last Glacial Maximum. Sitting within the broader Indonesian-Australian monsoon system, the intensity of precipitation brought to northwest Australia by the monsoon circulation is dependent on a number of interacting factors. In this thesis, these interactions will be considered on orbital, millennial and sub-millennial time scales. I will use a number of time series analysis methods, complex network theory and numerical climate modelling.

Why my research is important

The present understanding of the paleoclimate record of the monsoon region of northwestern Australia over the last glacial – present interglacial remains incomplete, with uncertainty regarding the processes which initiated and modulated monsoon circulation. We do know that during the Last Glacial Maximum 21,000 years ago, the monsoon circulation which dominates the present day tropical Australian climate was highly suppressed, and that intensity restrengthened during the early-to-mid Holocene. However, the exact roles of the various external drivers, including solar insolation, sea surface temperature, and land cover, remains uncertain.


Aug 2012

Feb 2017