Drought and climate forecasting in an Australian context

Stone, Roger C. and Fawcett, Robert and Everingham, Yvette L. and Pinington, Greg (2003) Drought and climate forecasting in an Australian context. In: Science for drought: proceedings of the National Drought Forum. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 41-48. ISBN 0734502435


Seasonal Climate Outlooks have been issued in
Australia since the late 1980s. The Commonwealth
Bureau of Meteorology, together with the
Queensland Department of Primary Industries, and
the Queensland Department of Natural Resources
and Mines (under the Queensland Centre for
Climate Applications (QCCA) project) have been
providing climate forecast output since the late
1980s and early 1990s, respectively. Publicly
available forecasts from both organisations
generally take the form of probabilities that total
seasonal (three-month) rainfall will be above the
relative climatological median, with the probability
of below median rainfall being immediately
derivable. A supplementary derived forecast output
from The Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology
and QCCA issued on subscription provides the
probability of seasonal rainfall falling into the
three terciles (obtained by splitting the distribution
into three equal categories by frequency).
Tercile probabilities are obtained by means of a
notional shifted distribution which is not normally
issued pUblicly. This notional shifted distribution
could, in principle, be broken down into finer levels
of discrimination (quartiles, quintiles, deciles) in
a way which is statistically consistent with the
larger category probabilities, with the calculation
of associated hindcast skill estimates giving some
insight into the advisability of such a procedure.
However, this type of output is not currently being
produced or available for users. Interestingly, tests
on historical data suggest rather more skill for
forecasting the outer terciles (loosely, the tails of
the distribution) than for the middle tercile. With
this point in mind, the Bureau's current seasonal
forecasting model does not show strong probability
shifts towards the middle tercile in its three forecast
We have recently applied the 'Binomial Test' as a
means of assessing the appropriateness of
provision of data in the lowest quartile and decile.
In this way we suggest use of the lowest tercile,
quartile, or decile in climate forecast output may
be useful for enhancing drought prediction.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information (displayed to public): Author's version not held.
Depositing User: ePrints Administrator
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2010 07:19
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2010 05:43
Uncontrolled Keywords: drought forecasting; meteorology, agricultural policy; climatic changes; ecosystem management; droughts
Fields of Research (FoR): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl.Climate Change Processes)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/7189

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