Defining the Australian monsoon onset: a systematic review

Lisonbee, Joel ORCID: and Ribbe, Joachim ORCID: and Wheeler, Matthew (2020) Defining the Australian monsoon onset: a systematic review. Progress in Physical Geography, 44 (3). pp. 398-418. ISSN 0309-1333

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The annual Australian monsoon pattern includes an onset, or the much anticipated first active monsoon period of the season, but defining the monsoon onset has proven to be problematic. Since the first Australian monsoon onset definition by Troup (1961) there have been many others presented. There appears to be no universally accepted method to define the Australian monsoon onset, and therefore we present here an analysis of the methods that have been proposed.

The aim of this paper is to systematically review the different methods used to define the Australian monsoon onset, adding to the work that has been done by other reviews for monsoon systems around the world. For the first time we identify the 25 different methods that have been published for the Australian monsoon/wet season onset and compare them to identify how well they align. When considering the 57 seasons where more than one onset definition is provided, the range of dates within the season can range over several months with the average range of 44 days and the largest range within a season of 78 days. Thus, we show that different onset definitions are capturing different events altogether and pin the “onset” to different dates throughout the progression of the north Australian wet season. Some capture a “wet season onset” while others capture the dynamical overturning of the atmosphere (i.e. the monsoon). In conclusion, our analysis finds that there is still a lack in real-time monitoring or prognostic capabilities of monsoon onset dates as well as a limited operational applicability despite a plethora of definitions.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: 22 October 2019. Accepted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Sciences (6 Sep 2019 - 31 Dec 2021)
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2019 23:58
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2021 01:16
Uncontrolled Keywords: monsoon, onset, wet season, climate variability, Australia, tropical circulation
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl.Climate Change Processes)
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370202 Climatology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9602 Atmosphere and Weather > 960202 Atmospheric Processes and Dynamics
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