A 7-Year Lag Precipitation Teleconnection in South Australia and Its Possible Mechanism

Lingli Fan, Huade Guan, Wenju Cai, C. P. Rofe, Jianjun Xu

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Precipitation teleconnections with large-scale ocean–atmosphere oscillation systems provide useful information for water management. Here, we present a 7-year lag response in South Australia (SA) precipitation to the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) in a positive Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) phase. This teleconnection between a positive SAM phase and increased SA precipitation, and vice versa, statistically consists of three sequential steps: a 27-season lag positive correlation between sea subsurface potential temperature (SSPT) to the south of SA and SAM, a zero-season lag positive correlation between sea surface temperature (SST) and SSPT, and a 2-season positive lag correlation between SA precipitation and sea surface temperature. Physically, this teleconnection seems to be associated with a supergyre circulation of the southern hemisphere oceans, which transfers SAM signal via subsurface potential sea temperature in the central south Pacific to the south of SA in 27 seasons during the positive IPO phase. Practically, this teleconnection provides a 7-year-lead drought precursor for rain-fed agriculture planning in SA. However, the teleconnection disappears in negative IPO phases. The oceanic pathway via the supergyre suggested in this study provides a basis to predict when this 7-year teleconnection may resume in the future based on observation and/or modeling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number553506
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2020


  • drought
  • Goyder’s line
  • precipitation prediction
  • sea temperature
  • southern annular mode
  • supergyre


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