Australian Landscape: Red Earth, Brown River
The green and brown land along these riverbeds in central Australia creates a stark contrast with the bright red soils of the rest of the arid terrain.
By far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid lands commonly known as the outback. Australia is the flattest continent, with the oldest and least fertile soils, and is the driest inhabited continent.
Only the south-east and south-west corners of the continent have a temperate climate. The climate is significantly influenced by ocean currents, including the El Niño southern oscillation, which is correlated with periodic drought, and the seasonal tropical low pressure system that produces cyclones in northern Australia.
Climate change has become an increasing concern in Australia in recent years. Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions per capita are among the highest in the world, lower than only several other industrialised nations including the United States, Canada, and Norway.
Rainfall in Australia has increased over the past century, both nationwide and for all four quadrants of the nation. Despite this beneficial effect of climate change, water restrictions are currently in place in many regions and cities of Australia in response to chronic shortages due to urban population increases and localised drought.