Forecasting Monthly Rainfall in the Bowen Basin of Queensland, Australia, Using Neural Networks with Niño Indices
For three decades there has been a significant global effort to improve El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) forecasts with the focus on using fully physical ocean-atmospheric coupled general circulation models (GCMs). Despite increasing sophistication of these models and the computational power of the computers that drive them, their predictive skill remains comparable with relatively simple statistical models. In this study, an artificial neural network (ANN) is used to forecast four indices that describe ENSO, namely Niño 1 + 2, 3, 3.4 and 4. The skill of the forecast for Niño 3.4 is compared with forecasts from GCMs and found to be more accurate particularly for forecasts with longer-lead times, and with no evidence of a Spring Predictability Barrier. The forecast values for Niño 1 + 2, 3, 3.4 and 4 were subsequently used as input to an ANN to forecast rainfall for Nebo, a locality in the Bowen Basin, a major coal-mining region of Queensland.
KeywordsENSO Niño Sea surface temperature Artificial neural network General circulation model Rainfall Spring predictability barrier
This work was funded by the B. Macfie Family Foundation.
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