• Allan, R. J., 1988: El Niño Southern Oscillation influences in the Australasian region. Prog. Phys. Geogr., 12, 313348, doi:10.1177/030913338801200301.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Allan, R. J., R. Lindesay, and D. Parker, 1996: El Niño Southern Oscillation and Climatic Variability. CSIRO, 405 pp.

  • Allen, R. J., J. R. Norris, and M. Kovilakam, 2014: Influence of anthropogenic aerosols and the Pacific decadal oscillation on tropical belt width. Nat. Geosci., 7, 270274, doi:10.1038/ngeo2091.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Anderson, D., 2014: Endurance: Australian Stories of Drought. CSIRO Publishing, 237 pp.

  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology, 2012: Record-breaking La Niña events: An analysis of the La Niña life cycle and the impacts and significance of the 2010–11 and 2011–12 La Niña events in Australia. 24 pp. Accessed 15 January 2015. [Available online at http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/history/La-Nina-2010-12.pdf.]

  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology, 2015: Australian climate extremes—Trend maps, consecutive dry days, 1950–present. Accessed 13 March 2015. [Available online at http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/#tabs=Tracker&tracker=timeseries.]

  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, 2011: Climate change in the Pacific: Scientific assessment and new research. 2 vols. [Available online at http://www.pacificclimatechangescience.org/publications/reports/report-climate-change-in-the-pacific-scientific-assessment-and-new-research/.]

  • Barnett, J., 2011: Dangerous climate change in the Pacific islands: Food production and food security. Reg. Environ. Change, 11, 229237, doi:10.1007/s10113-010-0160-2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barnett, J., and J. Campbell, 2010: Climate Change and Small Island States: Power, Knowledge, and the South Pacific. Earthscan, 218 pp.

  • Barnston, A. G., M. Chelliah, and S. B. Goldenberg, 1997: Documentation of a highly ENSO‐related SST region in the equatorial pacific: Research note. Atmos.–Ocean, 35, 367383, doi:10.1080/07055900.1997.9649597.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Benns, M., 2011: Tuvalu to run out of water by Tuesday. Daily Telegraph, 2 October 2011. Accessed 26 February 2015. [Available online at www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/tuvalu/8804093/Tuvalu-to-run-out-of-water-by-Tuesday.html.]

  • Cai, W., and P. van Rensch, 2012: The 2011 southeast Queensland extreme summer rainfall: A confirmation of a negative Pacific decadal oscillation phase? Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L08702, doi:10.1029/2011GL050820.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cao, G., T. W. Giambelluca, D. E. Stevens, and T. A. Schroeder, 2007: Inversion variability in the Hawaiian trade wind regime. J. Climate, 20, 11451160, doi:10.1175/JCLI4033.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chambers, L. E., 2001: Classifying rainfall districts: A south Western Australian study. Aust. Meteor. Mag., 50, 91103.

  • Chambers, L. E., 2003: South Australian rainfall variability and trends. Australian Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC) Rep. 92, 40 pp.

  • Chen, Y. R., and P.-S. Chu, 2014: Trends in precipitation extremes and return levels in the Hawaiian Islands under a changing climate. Int. J. Climatol., 34, 39133925, doi:10.1002/joc.3950.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chu, P.-S., 1995: Hawaii rainfall anomalies and El Niño. J. Climate, 8, 16971703, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1995)008<1697:HRAAEN>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chu, P.-S., and H. Chen, 2005: Interannual and interdecadal rainfall variations in the Hawaiian Islands. J. Climate, 18, 47964813, doi:10.1175/JCLI3578.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chu, P.-S., Y. R. Chen, and T. A. Schroeder, 2010: Changes in precipitation extremes in the Hawaiian Islands in a warming climate. J. Climate, 23, 48814900, doi:10.1175/2010JCLI3484.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CSIRO, 2012: Climate and water availability in south-eastern Australia: A synthesis of findings from phase 2 of the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative (SEACI). 41 pp. [Available online at http://www.seaci.org/publications/synthesis.html.]

  • d’Aubert, A., and P. D. Nunn, 2012: Furious Winds and Parched Islands: Tropical Cyclones (1558–1970) and Droughts (1722–1987) in the Pacific. Xlibris, 360 pp.

  • Diaz, H. F., and T. W. Giambelluca, 2012: Changes in atmospheric circulation patterns associated with high and low rainfall regimes in the Hawaiian Islands region on multiple time scales. Global Planet. Change, 98–99, 97108, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2012.08.011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Diaz, H. F., P. S. Chu, and J. K. Eischeid, 2005: Rainfall changes in Hawaii during the last century. 16th Conf. on Climate Variability and Change, San Diego, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 12.6. [Available online at https://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2005/webprogram/Paper84210.html.]

  • Dracup, J. A., K. S. Lee, and E. G. Paulson, 1980: On the definition of droughts. Water Resour. Res., 16, 297302, doi:10.1029/WR016i002p00297.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Drosdowsky, W., 1993: An analysis of Australian seasonal rainfall anomalies: 1950–1987. I: Spatial patterns. Int. J. Climatol., 13, 130, doi:10.1002/joc.3370130102.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Edwards, D. C., and T. B. McKee, 1997: Characteristics of 20th century drought in the United States at multiple scales. Colorado State University Climatological Rep. 97-2, 172 pp. [Available online at https://dspace.library.colostate.edu/handle/10217/170176.]

  • Folland, C. K., J. A. Renwick, M. J. Salinger, and A. B. Mullan, 2002: Relative influences of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation and ENSO on the South Pacific convergence zone. Geophys. Res. Lett., 29, 2124, doi:10.1029/2001GL014201.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frazier, A. G., H. F. Diaz, and T. W. Giambelluca, 2011: Rainfall in Hawai’i: Spatial and temporal changes since 1920. 2011 Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Amer. Geophys. Union, Abstract GC21B-0900.

  • Gallant, A. J. E., M. J. Reeder, J. S. Risbey, and K. J. Hennessy, 2013: The characteristics of seasonal-scale droughts in Australia, 1911–2009. Int. J. Climatol., 33, 16581672, doi:10.1002/joc.3540.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Garza, J. A., P.-S. Chu, C. W. Norton, and T. A. Schroeder, 2012: Changes of the prevailing trade winds over the islands of Hawaii and the North Pacific. J. Geophys. Res., 117, D11109, doi:10.1029/2011JD016888.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Giambelluca, T. W., D. Nullet, M. A. Ridgley, P. R. Eyre, J. E. T. Moncur, and S. Price, 1991: Drought in Hawai’i. Hawai’i Commission on Water Resources Management Rep. R88, 232 pp.

  • Heim, R. R., 2002: A review of twentieth-century drought indices used in the United States. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 11491165, doi:10.1175/1520-0477(2002)083<1149:AROTDI>2.3.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henley, B., J. Gergis, D. Karoly, S. Power, J. Kennedy, and C. Folland, 2015: A tripole index for the interdecadal Pacific oscillation. Climate Dyn., 45, 30773090, doi:10.1007/s00382-015-2525-1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hennessy, K., and Coauthors, 2008: An assessment of the impact of climate change on the nature of frequency of exceptional climatic events. CSIRO and BoM Consultancy Rep., 33 pp. [Available online at http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/droughtec/download.shtml.]

  • IPCC, 2013: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Cambridge University Press, 1535 pp.

  • Jovanovic, B., K. Braganza, D. Collins, and D. Jones, 2012: Climate variations and change evident in high-quality climate data for Australia’s Antarctic and remote island weather stations. Aust. Meteor. Ocean J., 62, 247261.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Keener, V. W., J. J. Maara, M. L. Finucane, D. Spooner, and M. H. Smith, 2012: Climate change and Pacific islands: Indicators and impacts. Report for the 2012 Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment, 170 pp. [Available online at http://www.pacificrisa.org/resources/publications/.]

  • Keyantash, J., and J. A. Dracup, 2002: The quantification of drought: An evaluation of drought indices. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 11671180, doi:10.1175/1520-0477(2002)083<1191:TQODAE>2.3.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kruk, M. C., A. M. Lorrey, G. M. Griffiths, M. Lander, E. J. Gibney, H. J. Diamond, and J. J. Marra, 2015: On the state of the knowledge of rainfall extremes in the western and northern Pacific basin. Int. J. Climatol., 35, 321336, doi:10.1002/joc.3990.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kruskal, W. H., and W. A. Wallis, 1952: Use of ranks in one-criterion variance analysis. J. Amer. Stat. Assoc., 47, 583621, doi:10.1080/01621459.1952.10483441.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kuleshov, Y., and Coauthors, 2014: Extreme weather and climate events and their impacts on island countries in the western Pacific: Cyclones, floods and droughts. Atmos. Climate Sci., 4, 803818, doi:10.4236/acs.2014.45071.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lander, M. A., 2004: Rainfall climatology for Saipan: Distribution, return-periods, El Niño, tropical cyclones and long term variations. Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific Rep., 54 pp. [Available online at http://www.weriguam.org/docs/reports/103.pdf.]

  • Lattin, J. M., J. D. Carroll, and P. E. Green, 2003: Analyzing Multivariate Data. Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 556 pp.

  • Lavery, B., G. Joung, and N. Nicholls, 1997: An extended high-quality historical rainfall dataset for Australia. Aust. Meteor. Mag., 46, 2738.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Li, J., S.-P. Xie, E. R. Cook, G. Huang, R. D’Arrigo, F. Liu, J. Ma, and X.-T. Zheng, 2011: Interdecadal modulation of El Niño amplitude during the past millennium. Nat. Climate Change, 1, 114118, doi:10.1038/nclimate1086.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lloyd-Hughes, B., and M. A. Saunders, 2002: A drought climatology for Europe. Int. J. Climatol., 22, 15711592, doi:10.1002/joc.846.

  • Lo, F., M. C. Wheeler, H. Meinke, and A. Donald, 2007: Probabilistic forecasts of the onset of the north Australian wet season. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 35063520, doi:10.1175/MWR3473.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lough, J. M., 1991: Rainfall variations in Queensland, Australia: 1891–1986. Int. J. Climatol., 11, 745768, doi:10.1002/joc.3370110704.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lough, J. M., G. A. Meehl, and M. J. Salinger, 2011: Observed and projected changes in surface climate of the tropical Pacific. Vulnerability of the Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change, J. D. Bell, J. E. Johnson, and A. J. Hobday, Eds., Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 49–99.

  • Lu, J., G. A. Vecchi, and T. Reichler, 2007: Expansion of the Hadley cell under global warming. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L06805, doi:10.1029/2006GL028443.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lu, J., C. Deser, and T. Reichler, 2009: Cause of the widening of the tropical belt since 1958. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L03803, doi:10.1029/2008GL036076.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Manhire, T., 2011: Tuvalu drought could be dry run for dealing with climate change. Guardian, 17 October 2011. Accessed 23 February 2015. [Available online at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/17/tuvalu-drought-climate-change.]

  • Mann, H. B., and D. R. Whitney, 1947: On a test of whether one of two random variables is stochastically larger than the other. Ann. Math. Stat., 18, 5060, doi:10.1214/aoms/1177730491.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mantua, N. J., S. R. Hare, Y. Zhang, J. M. Wallace, and R. C. Francis, 1997: A Pacific interdecadal climate oscillation with impacts on salmon production. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78, 10691079, doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1997)078<1069:APICOW>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McBride, J. L., and N. Nicholls, 1983: Seasonal relationships between Australian rainfall and the Southern Oscillation. Mon. Wea. Rev., 111, 19982004, doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1983)111<1998:SRBARA>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McGree, S., and Coauthors, 2014: An updated assessment of trends and variability in total and extreme rainfall in the western Pacific. Int. J. Climatol., 34, 27752791, doi:10.1002/joc.3874.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McKee, T. B., N. J. Doesken, and J. Kleist, 1993: The relationship of drought frequency and duration to time scales. Eighth Conf. on Applied Climatology, Anaheim, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 179–184.

  • McKee, T. B., N. J. Doesken, and J. Kleist, 1995: Drought monitoring with multiple time scales. Ninth Conf. on Applied Climatology, Dallas, TX, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 233–236.

  • McPhaden, M. J., S. E. Zebiak, and M. H. Glantz, 2006: ENSO as an integrating concept in Earth science. Science, 314, 17401745, doi:10.1126/science.1132588.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Min, S.-K., and S.-W. Son, 2013: Multimodel attribution of the Southern Hemisphere Hadley cell widening: Major role of ozone depletion. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 118, 30073015, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50232.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morales, M. S., and Coauthors, 2012: Precipitation changes in the South American Altiplano since 1300 AD reconstructed by tree-rings. Climate Past, 8, 653666, doi:10.5194/cp-8-653-2012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Murphy, B. F., and J. Ribbe, 2004: Variability of southeastern Queensland rainfall and climate indices. Int. J. Climatol., 24, 703721, doi:10.1002/joc.1018.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Murphy, B. F., S. B. Power, and S. McGree, 2014: The varied impacts of El Niño–Southern Oscillation on Pacific island climates. J. Climate, 27, 40154036, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00130.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nguyen, H., C. Lucas, A. Evans, B. Timbal, and L. Hanson, 2015: Expansion of the Southern Hemisphere Hadley cell in response to greenhouse gas forcing. J. Climate, 28, 80678077, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0139.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nicholls, N., 1984: A system for predicting the onset of the north Australian wet-season. J. Climatol., 4, 425435, doi:10.1002/joc.3370040407.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nunn, P. D., 2007: Climate, Environment, and Society in the Pacific during the Last Millennium. Elsevier Science, 316 pp.

  • Oladipo, E. O., 1985: A comparative performance analysis of three meteorological drought indices. J. Climatol., 5, 655664, doi:10.1002/joc.3370050607.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Power, S., F. Tseitkin, S. Torok, B. Lavery, R. Dahni, and B. McAvaney, 1998: Australian temperature, Australian rainfall and the Southern Oscillation, 1910–1992: Coherent variability and recent changes. Aust. Meteor. Mag., 47, 85101.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Power, S., T. Casey, C. Folland, A. Colman, and V. Mehta, 1999: Inter-decadal modulation of the impact of ENSO on Australia. Climate Dyn., 15, 319324, doi:10.1007/s003820050284.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ropelewski, C. F., and M. S. Halpert, 1989: Precipitation patterns associated with the high index phase of the Southern Oscillation. J. Climate, 2, 268284, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1989)002<0268:PPAWTH>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Salinger, M. J., R. E. Basher, B. B. Fitzharris, J. E. Hay, P. D. Jones, J. P. Macveigh, and I. Schmidely-Leleu, 1995: Climate trends in the South-west Pacific. Int. J. Climatol., 15, 285302, doi:10.1002/joc.3370150305.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Salinger, M. J., J. A. Renwick, and A. B. Mullan, 2001: Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation and South Pacific climate. Int. J. Climatol., 21, 17051721, doi:10.1002/joc.691.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Salinger, M. J., S. McGree, F. Beucher, S. B. Power, and F. Delage, 2014: A new index for variations in the position of the South Pacific convergence zone 1910/11–2011/2012. Climate Dyn., 43, 881892, doi:10.1007/s00382-013-2035-y.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sawlani, G., 2015: PNG’s drought disaster impacting on Port Moresby’s power supply. Aust. Broadcast. Comm. Pacific Beat, 8 September 2015. [Available online at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-08/pngs-drought-disaster-impacting-on-port-moresbys/6759266.]

  • Seidel, D. J., Q. Fu, W. J. Randel, and T. J. Reichler, 2008: Widening of the tropical belt in a changing climate. Nat. Geosci., 1, 2124, doi:10.1038/ngeo.2007.38.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Singh, R. B. K., S. Hales, N. de Wet, R. Raj, M. Hearnden, and P. Weinstein, 2001: The influence of climate variation and change on diarrheal disease in the Pacific islands. Environ. Health Perspect., 109, 155159, doi:10.1289/ehp.01109155.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spinoni, J., G. Naumann, H. Carrao, P. Barbosa, and J. Vogt, 2014: World drought frequency, duration, and severity for 1951–2010. Int. J. Climatol., 34, 27922804, doi:10.1002/joc.3875.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tapper, N., and L. Hurry, 1993: Australia’s Weather Patterns: An Introductory Guide. Dellasta, 130 pp.

  • Timbal, B., and W. Drosdowsky, 2013: The relationship between the decline of Southeastern Australian rainfall and the strengthening of the subtropical ridge. Int. J. Climatol., 33, 10211034, doi:10.1002/joc.3492.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Torok, S. J., 1996: The development of a high quality historical temperature database for Australia. Ph.D. thesis, University of Melbourne, 298 pp.

  • Trenberth, K. E., 1976: Spatial and temporal variations of the Southern Oscillation. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 102, 639653, doi:10.1002/qj.49710243310.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vance, T. R., J. L. Roberts, C. T. Plummer, A. S. Kiem, and T. D. van Ommen, 2014: Interdecadal Pacific variability and eastern Australian mega-droughts over the last millennium. Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 129137, doi:10.1002/2014GL062447.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vincent, D. G., 1994: The South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ): A review. Mon. Wea. Rev., 122, 19491970, doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1994)122<1949:TSPCZA>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vincent, E., M. Lengaigne, C. Menkes, N. Jourdain, P. Marchesiello, and G. Madec, 2011: Interannual variability of the South Pacific convergence zone and implications for tropical cyclone genesis. Climate Dyn., 36, 18811896, doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0716-3.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilhite, D. A., and M. H. Glantz, 1985: Understanding the drought phenomenon: The role of definitions. Water Int., 10, 111120, doi:10.1080/02508068508686328.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WMO, 2012: Standardized precipitation index user guide. WMO Rep. 1090, 24 pp. [Available online at http://www.wamis.org/agm/pubs/SPI/WMO_1090_EN.pdf.]

  • World Bank, 2000: Cities, seas, storms: Managing change in Pacific island economies: Summary report. World Bank, 135 pp. [Available online at http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/532221468288338891/Adapting-to-climate-change.]

  • Zhang, Y., J. M. Wallace, and D. S. Battisti, 1997: ENSO-like interdecadal variability: 1900–93. J. Climate, 10, 10041020, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<1004:ELIV>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 592 310 28
PDF Downloads 460 204 10

Trends and Variability in Droughts in the Pacific Islands and Northeast Australia

View More View Less
  • 1 School of Science, RMIT University, and Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific, Climate Information Services, Environment and Research Division, Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • | 2 School of Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • | 3 School of Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, and School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, and Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, and Climate Information Services, Environment and Research Division, Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
© Get Permissions Rent on DeepDyve
Restricted access

Abstract

Drought is a recurrent climate feature of the Pacific Islands and northeast Australia with meteorological and socioeconomic impacts documented from early European settlement. In this study, precipitation records for 21 countries and territories in the Pacific for the period 1951 to 2010 have been examined to identify trends in drought occurrence, duration, and magnitude. The strength of the relationships between the main climate drivers in the Pacific—El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), and the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO)—and precipitation has been also examined. Station-scale drought trends are largely positive, but the majority are statistically nonsignificant with the significant trends mainly in the subtropics. Spatially, trend patterns are largely heterogeneous. A significant relationship between the oceanic component of ENSO and precipitation is confirmed for a large part of the Pacific Islands and eastern Australia with a strong lagged relationship in the year after the El Niño onset at locations southwest of the South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ) and north of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). Similarly, a strong relationship was found with the IPO and PDO at most locations. Drought was found to be longer and more severe southwest of the SPCZ and north of the ITCZ during the positive phases of the IPO and PDO.

Denotes Open Access content.

Corresponding author address: Simon McGree, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne VIC 3001, Australia. E-mail: s.mcgree@bom.gov.au

Abstract

Drought is a recurrent climate feature of the Pacific Islands and northeast Australia with meteorological and socioeconomic impacts documented from early European settlement. In this study, precipitation records for 21 countries and territories in the Pacific for the period 1951 to 2010 have been examined to identify trends in drought occurrence, duration, and magnitude. The strength of the relationships between the main climate drivers in the Pacific—El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), and the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO)—and precipitation has been also examined. Station-scale drought trends are largely positive, but the majority are statistically nonsignificant with the significant trends mainly in the subtropics. Spatially, trend patterns are largely heterogeneous. A significant relationship between the oceanic component of ENSO and precipitation is confirmed for a large part of the Pacific Islands and eastern Australia with a strong lagged relationship in the year after the El Niño onset at locations southwest of the South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ) and north of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). Similarly, a strong relationship was found with the IPO and PDO at most locations. Drought was found to be longer and more severe southwest of the SPCZ and north of the ITCZ during the positive phases of the IPO and PDO.

Denotes Open Access content.

Corresponding author address: Simon McGree, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne VIC 3001, Australia. E-mail: s.mcgree@bom.gov.au
Save