Abstract

Correlations between indices of the Southern Oscillation (SO) and areal average rainfall for 107 Australian rainfall districts for the period December 1932 to November 1974 have been calculated. Simultaneous correlations between the SO and rainfall show a clear annual cycle with the best relationship occurring in spring (September-November). The season with the weakest relationship is summer (December-February). In all seasons, seasonal rainfalls in some parts of Australia are significantly correlated with the SO in the preceding season. The strongest lag correlations occur with spring rainfall, which for some areas is also significantly correlated with the SO two seasons (six months) earlier.

Correlations were also calculated with the data divided into two subseries from 1932 to 1953 and from 1954 to 1974. These calculations suggest a westward shift with time of the correlation pattern, associated with substantial changes in the magnitude of the correlations in some areas.

Some speculations on the possible causes of certain aspects of the observed seasonal cycle in the correlations are advanced.

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