Simulation and prediction of blocking in the Australian region and its influence on intra-seasonal rainfall in POAMA-2
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- Marshall, A.G., Hudson, D., Hendon, H.H. et al. Clim Dyn (2014) 42: 3271. doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1974-7
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We assess the depiction and prediction of blocking at 140°E and its impact on Australian intra-seasonal climate variability in the Bureau of Meteorology’s dynamical intra-seasonal/seasonal forecast model Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia version 2 (POAMA-2). The model simulates well the strong seasonality of blocking but underestimates its strength and frequency increasingly with lead time, particularly after the first fortnight of the hindcast, in connection with the model’s drifting basic state. POAMA-2 reproduces well the large-scale structure of weekly-mean blocking anomalies and associated rainfall anomalies over Australia; the depiction of total blocking in POAMA-2 may be improved with the reduction of biases in the distribution of Indian Ocean rainfall via a tropical-extratropical wave teleconnection linking blocking activity at 140°E with tropical variability near Indonesia. POAMA-2 demonstrates the ability to skilfully predict the daily blocking index out to 16 days lead time for the ensemble mean hindcast, surpassing the average predictive skill of the individual hindcast members (5 days), the skill obtained from persistence of observed (2 days), and the decorrelation timescale of blocking (3 days). This skilful prediction of the blocking index, together with effective simulation of blocking rainfall anomalies, translates into higher skill in forecasting rainfall in weeks 2 and 3 over much of Australia when blocking is high at the initial time of the hindcast, compared to when the blocking index is small. POAMA-2 is thus capable of providing forecast skill for blocking rainfall on the intra-seasonal timescale to meet the needs of Australian farming communities, whose management practises often rely upon decisions being made a few weeks ahead.