Future aridification and the response of Australia's dryland rivers

Zacchary Larkin*, Timothy J. Ralph (Contributor)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/WebsiteArticle

Abstract

Australia's complex and extensive inland rivers are among the most hydrologically variable in the world, and yet they are lifelines through dry landscapes that support a large and important agricultural industry and some of our most unique ecosystems. Future climate change is expected to reduce streamflow in many of these rivers, and there have been a number of studies that attempt to quantify these reductions in water availability. However, the impact of future climate changes on the structure and function (geomorphology) of rivers has not been explored in any systematic fashion. Rivers are not static conduits of water and sediment but adjust their form and behaviour in response to a range of factors (e.g. slope, valley confinement, climate). Therefore, changes to these factors – in this case climate – can result in dramatic changes in to a rivers geomorphology. In our recently published research, we aimed to, firstly, characterise the projected change in aridity across Australia over the next 50 years, and secondly, to define the geomorphological response of Australian dryland rivers to this change.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationOzeWEX
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2020

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