On the identification of ENSO-induced rainfall and runoff variability: A comparison of methods and indices

A. S. Kiem, S. W. Franks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is known that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon induces marked climate variability across many parts of the world. However, in seeking useful relationships between ENSO and climate, several indices are available. In addition to the choice of index, previous studies assessing ENSO effects have employed a range of different methods to classify periods as El Niño, La Niña or Neutral. It is therefore clear that significant subjectivity exists in the adoption of ENSO classification schemes. In this study, several ENSO classification methods are applied to a range of ENSO indices. Each method-index combination is investigated to determine which provides the strongest relationship with rainfall and runoff in the Williams River catchment, New South Wales, Australia. The results demonstrate substantial differences between the methods and indices. The Multivariate ENSO Index (or MEI) is found to provide the best classification irrespective of method. The potential for forecasting ENSO-related effects on rainfall, runoff and river abstractions is then investigated. A “rise rule” to account for dynamic ENSO trends is also assessed. Strong relationships were found to exist with runoff (rainfall) up to nine (eight) months in advance of the Summer/autumn period. Implications for improved forecasting of potential river abstractions are apparent.

Translated title of the contributionOn the identification of ENSO-induced rainfall and runoff variability: A comparison of methods and indices
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)715-727
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

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