The contributions of fronts, lows and thunderstorms to southern Australian rainfall

Acacia S. Pepler, Andrew J. Dowdy, Peter van Rensch, Irina Rudeva, Jennifer L. Catto, Pandora Hope

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11 Citations (Scopus)


A systematic analysis of the main weather types influencing southern Australian rainfall is presented for the period 1979–2015. This incorporates two multi-method datasets of cold fronts and low pressure systems, which indicate the more robust fronts and lows as distinguished from the weaker and less impactful events that are often indicated only by a single method. The front and low pressure system datasets are then combined with a dataset of environmental conditions associated with thunderstorms, as well as datasets of warm fronts and high pressure systems. The results demonstrate that these weather types collectively account for about 86% of days and more than 98% of rainfall in Australia south of 25° S. We also show how the key rain-bearing weather systems vary throughout the year and for different regions, with the co-occurrence of simultaneous lows, fronts and thunderstorm conditions particularly important during the spring and summer months in southeast Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1489-1505
Number of pages17
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyclone
  • Front
  • Rainfall
  • Reanalysis
  • Thunderstorm

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