Australia Bushfire Causes

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are the primary natural climate variability drivers impacting Australia. Contrast that to AGW as the man-made driver. These two categories of natural and man-made causes form the basis of the bushfire attribution discussion, yet the naturally occurring dipoles are not well understood. Chapter 12 of the book describes a model for ENSO; and even though IOD has similarities to ENSO in terms of its dynamics (a CC of around 0.3) the fractional impact of the two indices is ultimately responsible for whether a temperature extreme will occur in a region such as Australia (not to mention other indices such as MJO and SAM).  

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The MJO

In Chapter 12 of the book, we presented a math model for the equatorial Pacific ocean dipole known as ENSO (El Nino /Southern Oscillation).  We argued that the higher wavenumber (×15 of the fundamental) characteristic of ENSO was related to the behavior known as Tropical Instability Waves (TIW). Taken together, the fundamental and TIW components provide enough detail to model ENSO at the monthly level. However if we drill deeper, especially with respect to the finer granularity SOI measure of ENSO, there are rather obvious cyclic factors in the 30 to 90 day range that can add even further detail. The remarkable aspect is that these appear to be related to the behavior known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), identified originally as a 40-50 day oscillation in zonal wind [1].

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AO, PNA, & SAM Models

In Chapter 11, we developed a general formulation based on Laplace’s Tidal Equations (LTE) to aid in the analysis of standing wave climate models, focusing on the ENSO and QBO behaviors in the book.  As a means of cross-validating this formulation, it makes sense to test the LTE model against other climate indices. So far we have extended this to PDO, AMO, NAO, and IOD, and to complete the set, in this post we will evaluate the northern latitude indices comprised of the Arctic Oscillation/Northern Annular Mode (AO/NAM) and the Pacific North America (PNA) pattern, and the southern latitude index referred to as the Southern Annular Mode (SAM). We will first evaluate AO and PNA in comparison to its close relative NAO and then SAM …

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The Indian Ocean Dipole

In the book, we modeled the ENSO and QBO climate behaviors. Based on the approach described therein we have since extended this to the PDO, AMO, and NAO indices, with the IOD the focus of this post.

In Chapter 12, we concentrated on the Pacific ocean dipole referred to as ENSO (El Nino/Southern Oscillation).  A dipole that shares some of the characteristics of ENSO is the neighboring Indian Ocean Dipole and its gradient measure the Dipole Mode Index.

The IOD is important because it is correlated with India subcontinent monsoons. It also shows a correlation to ENSO, which is quite apparent by comparing specific peak positions, with a correlation coefficient of 0.2.  This post will describe the differences found via perturbing the ENSO model …

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