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Three putative types of El Nino revealed by spatial variability in impact on Australian wheat yield


Potgieter, AB and Hammer, GL and Meinke, HB and Stone, RC and Goddard, L, Three putative types of El Nino revealed by spatial variability in impact on Australian wheat yield, Journal of Climate, 18, (10) pp. 1566-1574. ISSN 0894-8755 (2005) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1175/JCLI3349.1


The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon significantly impacts rainfall and ensuing crop yields in many parts of the world. In Australia, El Nino events are often associated with severe drought conditions. However, El Nino events differ spatially and temporally in their manifestations and impacts, reducing the relevance of ENSO-based seasonal forecasts. In this analysis, three putative types of El Nino are identified among the 24 occurrences since the beginning of the twentieth century. The three types are based on coherent spatial patterns ("footprints") found in the El Nino impact on Australian wheat yield. This bioindicator reveals aligned spatial patterns in rainfall anomalies, indicating linkage to atmospheric drivers. Analysis of the associated ocean-atmosphere dynamics identifies three types of El Nino differing in the timing of onset and location of major ocean temperature and atmospheric pressure anomalies. Potential causal mechanisms associated with these differences in anomaly patterns need to be investigated further using the increasing capabilities of general circulation models. Any improved predictability would be extremely valuable in forecasting effects of individual El Nino events on agricultural systems.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Climate change science
Research Field:Climatology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Meinke, HB (Professor Holger Meinke)
ID Code:71515
Year Published:2005
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Research Division
Deposited On:2011-07-21
Last Modified:2011-07-21

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