Forecasting rainfall based on the Southern Oscillation Index phases at longer lead-times in Australia

Cobon, David H. and Toombs, Nathan R. (2013) Forecasting rainfall based on the Southern Oscillation Index phases at longer lead-times in Australia. The Rangeland Journal, 35 (4). pp. 373-383. ISSN 1036-9872


Under the extensive grazing conditions experienced in Australia, pastoralists would benefit from a long leadtime seasonal forecast issued for the austral warm season (November–March). Currently operational forecasts are issued publicly for rolling 3-month periods at lead-times of 0 or 1 month, usually without an indication of forecast quality. The short lag between the predictor and predictand limits use of forecasts because pastoralists operating large properties have insufficient time to implement key management decisions. The ability to forecast rainfall based on the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) phase system was examined at 0–5-month lead-times for Australian rainfall. The SOI phase system provided a shift of adequate magnitude in the rainfall probabilities (–40 to +30%) and forecast quality for the 5-month austral warm season at lead-times >0 months. When data used to build the forecast system were used in verification, >20% of locations had a significant linear error in probability space (LEPS) and Kruskal–Wallis (KW) test for lead-times of 0–2 months. The majority of locations showing forecast quality were in northern Australia (north of 25 degrees S), predominately
in north-eastern Australia (north of 25 degrees S, east of 140 degrees E). Pastoralists in these areas can now apply key management decisions with more confidence up to 2 months before the November–March period. Useful lead-times of ≥3 months were not found.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Australian Rangeland Society 2013. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - No Department
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2014 06:22
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2017 03:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: El Nino Southern Oscillation; forecast quality; hindcasting; inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation; pastoralists
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040107 Meteorology
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness
04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl.Climate Change Processes)
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 83 Animal Production and Animal Primary Products > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9602 Atmosphere and Weather > 960203 Weather
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1071/RJ12105

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