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Assessing the simulation and prediction of rainfall associated with the MJO in the POAMA seasonal forecast system

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Abstract

We assess the ability of the Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA) to simulate and predict weekly rainfall associated with the MJO using a 27-year hindcast dataset. After an initial 2-week atmospheric adjustment, the POAMA model is shown to simulate well, both in pattern and in intensity, the weekly-mean rainfall variation associated with the evolution of the MJO over the tropical Indo-Pacific. The simulation is most realistic in December–February (austral summer) and least realistic in March–May (austral autumn). Regionally, the most problematic area is the Maritime Continent, which is a common problem area in other models. Coupled with our previous demonstration of the ability of POAMA to predict the evolution of the large-scale structure of the MJO for up to about 3 weeks, this ability to simulate the regional rainfall evolution associated with the MJO translates to enhanced predictability of rainfall regionally throughout much of the tropical Indo-Pacific when the MJO is present in the initial conditions during October–March. We also demonstrate enhanced prediction skill of rainfall at up to 3 weeks lead time over the north-east Pacific and north Atlantic, which are areas of pronounced teleconnections excited by the MJO-modulation of tropical Indo-Pacific rainfall. Failure to simulate and predict the modulation of rainfall in such places as the Maritime Continent and tropical Australia by the MJO indicates, however, there is still much room for improvement of the prediction of the MJO and its teleconnections.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Managing Climate Variability Program of Grains Research and Development Corporation. We would like to thank Dr. Harun Rashid for providing the RMM data used in this study. Drs. James Risbey and Li Shi reviewed an earlier version of the manuscript and provided useful comments. Thanks also to Drs. Peter McIntosh, Mike Pook, Jaclyn Brown and Gary Meyers for useful discussions throughout the course of this work. Finally, we thank the three anonymous reviewers for suggested revisions to the manuscript. The CMAP dataset was provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD in Boulder USA, and the ERA-40 data was provided by the ECMWF in Reading UK.

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Correspondence to Andrew G. Marshall.

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Marshall, A.G., Hudson, D., Wheeler, M.C. et al. Assessing the simulation and prediction of rainfall associated with the MJO in the POAMA seasonal forecast system. Clim Dyn 37, 2129–2141 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-010-0948-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-010-0948-2

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