Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 38, issue 11 (2011)
Aboriginal vegetation burning practices and their role in the Australian
environment remains a central theme of Australian environmental history.
Previous studies have identified a decline in the Australian summer
monsoon during the late Quaternary and attributed it to land surface-atmosphere
feedbacks, related to Aboriginal burning practices. Here we undertake
a comprehensive, ensemble model evaluation of the effects of a decrease
in vegetation cover over the summer monsoon region of northern Australia.
Our results show that the climate response, while relatively muted
during the full monsoon, was significant for the pre-monsoon season
(austral spring), with decreases in precipitation, higher surface
and ground temperatures, and enhanced atmospheric stability. These
early monsoon season changes can invoke far-reaching ecological impacts
and set-up land surface-atmosphere feedbacks that further accentuate
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