Location: Bureau of Meteorology

Time: The best timing would be a short stretch in the mid-Semester break to establish methods, and then more work through summer, once the datasets are finalised. However, we are flexible.


Twenty years ago, Nicholls et al. (1997) used datasets that had been newly released at the time to examine Australia’s rainfall variability and links to temperature. With the recent release of an updated Australian Climate Observations Reference Network Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) dataset and improvements in the gridded Australian rainfall dataset (AWAP; Jones et al. 2009) it is timely to re-visit the results in that study.

The associations between rainfall variability, ENSO and temperature appeared to be stationary early in the record, but there was a hint that there was some evidence of a shift in the late 1990s. Has that shift continued? Alternatively, have the rainfall variance characteristics returned to what was observed earlier in the record?

This project will use the latest observed datasets to explore these questions. It time allows similar analysis will be performed in reanalyses and climate model simulations of the present climate, a pre-industrial climate and a range of possible ‘future’ climates. These further analyses would provide an understanding of the influence of anthropogenic climate change on the results.

  • Jones, D. A., W. Wang, and R. Fawcett, 2009: High-quality spatial climate data-sets for Australia. Aust. Meteorol. Oceanogr. J., 58, 233–248.
  • Nicholls, N., W. Drosdowsky, and B. Lavery, 1997: Australian rainfall variability and change. Weather, 52, 66–72.

This work will be linked to Water and Climate projects currently being undertaken at the Bureau of Meteorology.

Requirements: A student interested in weather variability and statistics would be ideal.

If you are interested in this project, please fill out the application form.