National Weather Center Colloquium

Australian Temperature and Rainfall Variability: Multiple Links with Local and Remote Climate Drivers

Dr. Lance Leslie
OU School of Meteorology

17 September 2013, 4:00 PM

National Weather Center, Room 1313
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

Reception @ 3:30

Since the 1970s, Australia has been a natural laboratory for studying the roles of local and remote climate drivers of temperature and rainfall trends. Two examples are discussed in detail. For temperature, a correlation analysis of seasonally averaged mean maximum temperature data for 1958-2012 is produced for 10 stations in the populous southeast Australia (SEAUS). For the warm season (Nov-Apr) there is a positive relationship with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and an inverse relationship with the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO). For the cool season (May-Oct), most stations exhibit similar relationships with the AAO, positive correlations with the Indian Ocean Dipole Mode Index and marginally inverse relationships with ENSO and the PDO. However, for both seasons, the Blocking Index (BI) in the south Tasman Sea (160°E) is the dominant mode affecting maximum temperature variability in SEAUS with negative correlations from -0.30 to -0.65. Notably, the maximum temperature variability of one group of stations is explained by local warmer near-coastal SSTs, rather than by teleconnections. For rainfall, especially after the 1970s, there is an increase (decrease) of wet summer (winter) season rainfall over northwest (southwest) Western Australia. However, in central west Western Australia (CWWA), a key economic region, has much weaker coastal trends, but has prominent, important inland increases during the wet summer season (Nov-Apr). Seasonally averaged CWWA inland rainfall trends during 1958-2010 reveal that wet seasons are primarily associated with ENSO and the Southern Annular Mode.

Speaker bio

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National Weather Center Colloquium Seminar Series website