Indo-Pacific-induced wave trains during austral autumn and their effect on Australian rainfall

Peter van Rensch, Wenju Cai

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9 Citations (Scopus)


During austral winter and spring, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD), individually or in combination, induce equivalent-barotropic Rossby wave trains, affecting midlatitude Australian rainfall. In autumn, ENSO is at its annual minimum, and the IOD has usually not developed. However, there is still a strong equivalent-barotropic Rossby wave train associated with tropical Indian Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) variability, with a pressure anomaly to the south of Australia. This wave train is similar in position, but opposite in sign, to the IOD-induced wave train in winter and spring and has little effect on Australian rainfall. This study shows that the SST in the southeastern tropical Indian Ocean (SETIO) displays a high variance during austral autumn, with a strong influence on southeast and eastern Australian rainfall. However, this influence is slightly weaker than that associated with SST to the north of Australia, which shares fluctuations with SST in the SETIO region. The SST north of Australia is coherent with a convective dipole in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which is the source of a wave train to the east of Australia influencing rainfall in eastern Australia. ENSO Modoki is a contributor to the convective dipole and as a result it exerts a weak influence on eastern Australian rainfall through the connecting north Australian SST relationship. Thus, SST to the north of Australia acts as the main agent for delivering the impact of tropical Indo-Pacific variability to eastern Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3208-3221
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes

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