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Hanh Nguyen, Jason A. Otkin, Matthew C. Wheeler, Pandora Hope, Blair Trewin, and Christa Pudmenzky

Abstract

The seasonal cycle of the evaporative stress index (ESI) over Australia, and its relationship to observed rainfall and temperature, is examined. The ESI is defined as the standardized anomaly of the ratio of actual evapotranspiration to potential evapotranspiration, and as such, is a measure of vegetation moisture stress associated with agricultural or ecological drought. The ESI is computed using the daily output of version 6 of the Bureau of Meteorology’s landscape water balance model [Australian Water Resource Assessment Landscape (AWRA-L)] on a 5-km horizontal grid over a 45-yr period (1975–2019). Here we show that the ESI exhibits marked spatial and seasonal variability and can be used to accurately monitor drought across Australia, where ESI values less than negative one indicate drought. While the ESI is highly correlated with rainfall as expected, its relationship with temperature only becomes significant during the warmer seasons, suggesting a threshold above which temperature may affect vegetation stress. Our analysis also shows that the ESI tends to be strongly negative (i.e., indicating drought) during El Niño and positive phases of the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD), when conditions tend to be anomalously hot and dry. A negative phase of the southern annular mode also tends to drive negative ESI values during austral spring with a one-month delay.

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Blair Trewin, Anny Cazenave, Stephen Howell, Matthias Huss, Kirsten Isensee, Matthew D. Palmer, Oksana Tarasova, and Alex Vermeulen

Abstract

The World Meteorological Organization has developed a set of headline indicators for global climate monitoring. These seven indicators are a subset of the existing set of essential climate variables (ECVs) established by the Global Climate Observing System and are intended to provide the most essential parameters representing the state of the climate system. These indicators include global mean surface temperature, global ocean heat content, state of ocean acidification, glacier mass balance, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent, global CO2 mole fraction, and global mean sea level. This paper describes how well each of these indicators are currently monitored, including the number and quality of the underlying datasets; the health of those datasets; observation systems used to estimate each indicator; the timeliness of information; and how well recent values can be linked to preindustrial conditions. These aspects vary widely between indicators. While global mean surface temperature is available in close to real time and changes from preindustrial levels can be determined with relatively low uncertainty, this is not the case for many other indicators. Some indicators (e.g., sea ice extent) are largely dependent on satellite data only available in the last 40 years, while some (e.g., ocean acidification) have limited underlying observational bases, and others (e.g., glacial mass balance) with data only available a year or more in arrears.

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Cesar Azorin-Molina, Tim R. McVicar, Jose A. Guijarro, Blair Trewin, Andrew J. Frost, Gangfeng Zhang, Lorenzo Minola, Seok-Woo Son, Kaiqiang Deng, and Deliang Chen

Abstract

Wind gusts represent one of the main natural hazards due to their increasing socioeconomic and environmental impacts on, for example, human safety, maritime–terrestrial–aviation activities, engineering and insurance applications, and energy production. However, the existing scientific studies focused on observed wind gusts are relatively few compared to those on mean wind speed. In Australia, previous studies found a slowdown of near-surface mean wind speed, termed “stilling,” but a lack of knowledge on the multidecadal variability and trends in the magnitude (wind speed maxima) and frequency (exceeding the 90th percentile) of wind gusts exists. A new homogenized daily peak wind gusts (DPWG) dataset containing 548 time series across Australia for 1941–2016 is analyzed to determine long-term trends in wind gusts. Here we show that both the magnitude and frequency of DPWG declined across much of the continent, with a distinct seasonality: negative trends in summer–spring–autumn and weak negative or nontrending (even positive) trends in winter. We demonstrate that ocean–atmosphere oscillations such as the Indian Ocean dipole and the southern annular mode partly modulate decadal-scale variations of DPWG. The long-term declining trend of DPWG is consistent with the “stilling” phenomenon, suggesting that global warming may have reduced Australian wind gusts.

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Sophie C. Lewis, Stephanie A.P. Blake, Blair Trewin, Mitchell T. Black, Andrew J. Dowdy, Sarah E. Perkins-Kirkpatrick, Andrew D. King, and Jason J. Sharples
Free access
Cher M. Page, Neville Nicholls, Neil Plummer, Blair Trewin, Mike Manton, Lisa Alexander, Lynda E. Chambers, Youngeun Choi, Dean A. Collins, Ashmita Gosai, Paul Della-Marta, Malcolm R. Haylock, Kasis Inape, Victoire Laurent, Luc Maitrepierre, Erwin E.P. Makmur, Hiroshi Nakamigawa, Nongnat Ouprasitwong, Simon McGree, Janita Pahalad, M.J. Salinger, Lourdes Tibig, Trong D. Tran, Kaliapan Vediapan, and Panmao Zhai
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Randall S. Cerveny, Pierre Bessemoulin, Christopher C. Burt, Mary Ann Cooper, Zhang Cunjie, Ashraf Dewan, Jonathan Finch, Ronald L. Holle, Laurence Kalkstein, Andries Kruger, Tsz-cheung Lee, Rodney Martínez, M. Mohapatra, D. R. Pattanaik, Thomas C. Peterson, Scott Sheridan, Blair Trewin, Andrew Tait, and M. M. Abdel Wahab

Abstract

A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Climatology international panel was convened to examine and assess the available evidence associated with five weather-related mortality extremes: 1) lightning (indirect), 2) lightning (direct), 3) tropical cyclones, 4) tornadoes, and 5) hail. After recommending for acceptance of only events after 1873 (the formation of the predecessor of the WMO), the committee evaluated and accepted the following mortality extremes: 1) “highest mortality (indirect strike) associated with lightning” as the 469 people killed in a lightning-caused oil tank fire in Dronka, Egypt, on 2 November 1994; 2) “highest mortality directly associated with a single lightning flash” as the lightning flash that killed 21 people in a hut in Manica Tribal Trust Lands, Zimbabwe (at time of incident, eastern Rhodesia), on 23 December 1975; 3) “highest mortality associated with a tropical cyclone” as the Bangladesh (at time of incident, East Pakistan) cyclone of 12–13 November 1970 with an estimated death toll of 300 000 people; 4) “highest mortality associated with a tornado” as the 26 April 1989 tornado that destroyed the Manikganj district, Bangladesh, with an estimated death toll of 1300 individuals; and 5) “highest mortality associated with a hailstorm” as the storm occurring near Moradabad, India, on 30 April 1888 that killed 246 people. These mortality extremes serve to further atmospheric science by giving baseline mortality values for comparison to future weather-related catastrophes and also allow for adjudication of new meteorological information as it becomes available.

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Peter W. Thorne, Kate M. Willett, Rob J. Allan, Stephan Bojinski, John R. Christy, Nigel Fox, Simon Gilbert, Ian Jolliffe, John J. Kennedy, Elizabeth Kent, Albert Klein Tank, Jay Lawrimore, David E. Parker, Nick Rayner, Adrian Simmons, Lianchun Song, Peter A. Stott, and Blair Trewin

No abstract available.

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Stephen Baxter, Gerald D Bell, Eric S Blake, Francis G Bringas, Suzana J Camargo, Lin Chen, Caio A. S Coelho, Ricardo Domingues, Stanley B Goldenberg, Gustavo Goni, Nicolas Fauchereau, Michael S Halpert, Qiong He, Philip J Klotzbach, John A Knaff, Michelle L'Heureux, Chris W Landsea, I.-I Lin, Andrew M Lorrey, Jing-Jia Luo, Andrew D Magee, Richard J Pasch, Petra R Pearce, Alexandre B Pezza, Matthew Rosencrans, Blair C Trewin, Ryan E Truchelut, Bin Wang, H Wang, Kimberly M Wood, and John-Mark Woolley
Free access
Howard J. Diamond, Carl J. Schreck III, Emily J. Becker, Gerald D. Bell, Eric S. Blake, Stephanie Bond, Francis G. Bringas, Suzana J. Camargo, Lin Chen, Caio A. S. Coelho, Ricardo Domingues, Stanley B. Goldenberg, Gustavo Goni, Nicolas Fauchereau, Michael S. Halpert, Qiong He, Philip J. Klotzbach, John A. Knaff, Michelle L'Heureux, Chris W. Landsea, I.-I. Lin, Andrew M. Lorrey, Jing-Jia Luo, Kyle MacRitchie, Andrew D. Magee, Ben Noll, Richard J. Pasch, Alexandre B. Pezza, Matthew Rosencrans, Michael K. Tippet, Blair C. Trewin, Ryan E. Truchelut, Bin Wang, Hui Wang, Kimberly M. Wood, John-Mark Woolley, and Steven H. Young
Full access