Improving the seasonal prediction of Northern Australian rainfall onset to help with grazing management decisions

Cowan, Tim and Stone, Roger and Wheeler, Matthew C. and Griffiths, Morwenna (2020) Improving the seasonal prediction of Northern Australian rainfall onset to help with grazing management decisions. Climate Services, 19:100182. pp. 1-14.

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Abstract

The development of the Australian Community Climate and Earth-System Simulator-Seasonal prediction system version 1 (ACCESS-S1) signifies a major step towards addressing predictive limitations in multi-week to seasonal forecasting throughout Australia. It is anticipated that moving to ACCESS-S1 will provide improved skill in rainfall prediction during the dry to wet season transition period across tropical northern Australia. This is an important time for northern Australian livestock producers in terms of the decisions they make around pasture and livestock management. This study quantifies the hindcast skill of ACCESS-S1 for the northern rainfall onset (NRO), defined as the date when 50 mm of precipitation has accumulated at a given location from the 1st of September, heralding the shift towards greener pastures. We evaluate the raw model hindcasts, and compare them to hindcasts corrected for mean biases and those calibrated against observations. It is found that the raw ACCESS-S1 hindcasts broadly replicate the observed median NRO over the period 1990–2012, despite a ten- dency for earlier than observed onsets. In terms of forecasting the interannual variability of the NRO, the ca- librated hindcasts show the greatest skill, with the largest improvements over a climatological forecast in their probabilistic forecasts of an earlier or later than usual onset, with a large portion of northern Australian showing more than 10% improvement. With real-time NRO forecasts now generated by ACCESS-S1, it is expected that the calibrated predictions will help northern Australian graziers make better informed decisions around livestock management prior to the wet season.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2020 22:20
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 03:07
Uncontrolled Keywords: Seasonal prediction, wet season onset, calibrated forecasts, Northern Australia, interannual variability, Northern rainfall onset
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040102 Atmospheric Dynamics
04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040107 Meteorology
04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl.Climate Change Processes)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9602 Atmosphere and Weather > 960202 Atmospheric Processes and Dynamics
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9602 Atmosphere and Weather > 960203 Weather
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cliser.2020.100182
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39563

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