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The effect of the Madden-Julian Oscillation on station rainfall and river level in the Fly River system, Papua New Guinea

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Matthews, A. J., Pickup, G., Peatman, S. C., Clews, P. and Martin, J. (2013) The effect of the Madden-Julian Oscillation on station rainfall and river level in the Fly River system, Papua New Guinea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118 (19). 10,926-10,935. ISSN 2169-8996

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50865

Abstract/Summary

The Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) is the dominant mode of intraseasonal variability in tropical rainfall on the large scale, but its signal is often obscured in individual station data, where effects are most directly felt at the local level. The Fly River system, Papua New Guinea, is one of the wettest regions on Earth and is at the heart of the MJO envelope. A 16 year time series of daily precipitation at 15 stations along the river system exhibits strong MJO modulation in rainfall. At each station, the difference in rainfall rate between active and suppressed MJO conditions is typically 40% of the station mean. The spread of rainfall between individual MJO events was small enough such that the rainfall distributions between wet and dry phases of the MJO were clearly separated at the catchment level. This implies that successful prediction of the large-scale MJO envelope will have a practical use for forecasting local rainfall. In the steep topography of the New Guinea Highlands, the mean and MJO signal in station precipitation is twice that in the satellite Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission 3B42HQ product, emphasizing the need for ground-truthing satellite-based precipitation measurements. A clear MJO signal is also present in the river level, which peaks simultaneously with MJO precipitation input in its upper reaches but lags the precipitation by approximately 18 days on the flood plains.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:37113
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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