Sea surface temperature and winter rainfall in Australia

E. Linacre


All but the southern fringe of Australia receives less rain in June-August (i.e. in winter) than in summer. The north and interior are very dry in winter (Fig 10.12 in the book). Wintertime rainfall amounts in Australia correlates with sea-surface temperatures in the Indian and Pacific Oceans (1). In particular, the NW, interior and SE of the continent tend to wetter than normal in winter when a dipole SST anomaly is present, with a warm node near Indonesia, and a cold node in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Rainfall (even winter rain) in the eastern third of Australia is mostly related to the Southern Oscillation in the Pacific Ocean. The dipole in SST anomalies in the Indian Ocean factor influences the impact of an ENSO event on Australian rainfall.



(1) Nicholls, N. 1989. Sea-surface temperatures and Australian winter rainfall. J. Climate, 2, 965-73.