• Bureau of Meteorology, 2001: Annual report of the Bureau of Meteorology, 2000–2001. Australian Government Publishing Services, 234 pp.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bureau of Meteorology, 2002: Tropical cyclone directive, Western Australia regional office, 2002–2003 season. 42 pp. [Available from the Regional Director, Bureau of Meteorology, P.O. Box 1370, West Perth, WA 6872, Australia.].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gibbs, W. J., 1999: A very special family: Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1946 to 1962. Metarch Papers, No. 13, Bureau of Meteorology, 256 pp. [Available from the Bureau of Meteorology, G.P.O. Box 1289K, GPO Melbourne, 3001, Australia.].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holland, G. J., 1981: On the quality of the Australian tropical cyclone data base. Aust. Meteor. Mag., 29 , 169181.

  • Kruskal, W. H., , and W. A. Wallis, 1952: Use of ranks in one-criterion analysis of variance. J. Amer. Stat. Assoc., 47 , 583621.

  • Landsea, C. W., 1993: A climatology of intense (or major) Atlantic hurricanes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 121 , 17031713.

  • McCrone, P. J., 2002: Case study of an Australian subtropical cyclone from March 2001. Preprints, 25th Conf. on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, San Diego, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 47–50.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nicholls, N., 1992: Recent performance of a method for forecasting Australian seasonal tropical cyclone activity. Aust. Meteor. Mag., 40 , 105110.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nicholls, N., , C. Landsea, , and J. Gill, 1998: Recent trends in Australian region tropical cyclone activity. Meteor. Atmos. Phys., 65 , 197205.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reale, O., , and R. Atlas, 2001: Tropical cyclone–like vortices in the extratropics: Observational evidence and synoptic analysis. Wea. Forecasting, 16 , 734.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Simpson, R. H., 1974: The hurricane disaster potential scale. Weatherwise, 27 , 169186.

  • Simpson, R. H., , and H. Riehl, 1981: The Hurricane and Its Impact. Louisiana State University Press, 398 pp.

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 101 101 0
PDF Downloads 2 2 0

The Impact of Observational Technology on Climate Database Quality: Tropical Cyclones in the Tasman Sea

View More View Less
  • 1 Bureau of Meteorology, West Perth, Australia
  • | 2 School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 3 Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney, Australia
© Get Permissions
Restricted access

Abstract

The recorded climatology of tropical cyclones that affect the Tasman Sea spans the period from 1911 to the present. This climatology is a subset of the much larger Australian Tropical Cyclone database, which is the official record of all tropical cyclones in the Australian area of responsibility. Such a long, detailed record should provide an excellent dataset for regional climate research. However, a detailed analysis of the database has revealed that it must be used with caution over the Tasman Sea, where statistically significant discontinuities are present, greatly reducing its quality and length for climate and climate change studies. Problems with the complete Australian Tropical Cyclone database have been identified and discussed earlier by a number of authors. This study is concerned with two statistically significant discontinuities that occurred in the Tasman Sea portion of the database in the mid-1950s and in 1977. The first discontinuity almost trebled the recorded frequency of tropical cyclones, whereas the second discontinuity exhibited an opposite trend, decreasing the recorded frequency of tropical cyclones by a factor of 8 from the previous period. Some possible explanations for the abrupt changes in this subset of one particular database are discussed. It is suggested here that the most likely explanation is the improved observing technology and the associated changes in interpretation of the new data. Finally, it is likely that other climate databases have been affected by similar problems and should be treated with the same degree of caution.

Corresponding author address: Dr. B. W. Buckley, Bureau of Meteorology, P.O. Box 1370, West Perth, Western Australia 6872, Australia. Email: b.buckley@bom.gov.au

Abstract

The recorded climatology of tropical cyclones that affect the Tasman Sea spans the period from 1911 to the present. This climatology is a subset of the much larger Australian Tropical Cyclone database, which is the official record of all tropical cyclones in the Australian area of responsibility. Such a long, detailed record should provide an excellent dataset for regional climate research. However, a detailed analysis of the database has revealed that it must be used with caution over the Tasman Sea, where statistically significant discontinuities are present, greatly reducing its quality and length for climate and climate change studies. Problems with the complete Australian Tropical Cyclone database have been identified and discussed earlier by a number of authors. This study is concerned with two statistically significant discontinuities that occurred in the Tasman Sea portion of the database in the mid-1950s and in 1977. The first discontinuity almost trebled the recorded frequency of tropical cyclones, whereas the second discontinuity exhibited an opposite trend, decreasing the recorded frequency of tropical cyclones by a factor of 8 from the previous period. Some possible explanations for the abrupt changes in this subset of one particular database are discussed. It is suggested here that the most likely explanation is the improved observing technology and the associated changes in interpretation of the new data. Finally, it is likely that other climate databases have been affected by similar problems and should be treated with the same degree of caution.

Corresponding author address: Dr. B. W. Buckley, Bureau of Meteorology, P.O. Box 1370, West Perth, Western Australia 6872, Australia. Email: b.buckley@bom.gov.au

Save