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All-India Summer Monsoon Rainfall and Sea Surface Temperatures around Northern Australia and Indonesia

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  • 1 Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia
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Abstract

The relationship between Indian summer (June–September) monsoon rainfall and sea surface temperatures around northern Australia–Indonesia has been explored using data from 1949 to 1991. Warm sea surface temperatures are generally associated with a good monsoon; a poor monsoon is usually accompanied and preceded by low sea surface temperatures. This finding confirms, on independent data, a suggestion made a decade ago. This study also confirms a relationship between changes in Darwin pressure and Indian monsoon rainfall. Thew two relationships appear to provide a method for predicting Indian summer monsoon rainfall a month or two before the onset of the monsoon season. Two predictors (April sea surface temperatures and the change in Darwin pressure from January to April) together account for about 50% of the variance in Indian monsoon rainfall if the data are adjusted to remove possible artificial trends in the ocean temperatures. The northern Australia–Indonesia region is clearly an important component in the large-scale interaction between the Indian monsoon and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation.

Abstract

The relationship between Indian summer (June–September) monsoon rainfall and sea surface temperatures around northern Australia–Indonesia has been explored using data from 1949 to 1991. Warm sea surface temperatures are generally associated with a good monsoon; a poor monsoon is usually accompanied and preceded by low sea surface temperatures. This finding confirms, on independent data, a suggestion made a decade ago. This study also confirms a relationship between changes in Darwin pressure and Indian monsoon rainfall. Thew two relationships appear to provide a method for predicting Indian summer monsoon rainfall a month or two before the onset of the monsoon season. Two predictors (April sea surface temperatures and the change in Darwin pressure from January to April) together account for about 50% of the variance in Indian monsoon rainfall if the data are adjusted to remove possible artificial trends in the ocean temperatures. The northern Australia–Indonesia region is clearly an important component in the large-scale interaction between the Indian monsoon and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation.

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