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Regional climate projections of mean and extreme climate for the southwest of Western Australia (1970–1999 compared to 2030–2059)

Andrys, J., Kala, J.ORCID: 0000-0001-9338-2965 and Lyons, T.J. (2017) Regional climate projections of mean and extreme climate for the southwest of Western Australia (1970–1999 compared to 2030–2059). Climate Dynamics, 48 (5). pp. 1723-1747.

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Projections of future climate change (1970–1999 compared to 2030–2059) for southwest Western Australia (SWWA) are analysed for a regional climate model (RCM) ensemble using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model with boundary conditions from three CMIP3 general circulation models (GCMs); CCSM3, CSIROmk3.5 and ECHAM5. We show that the RCM adds value to the GCM and we suggest that this is through improved representation of regional scale topography and enhanced land–atmosphere interactions. Our results show that the mean daytime temperature increase is larger than the nighttime increase, attributed to reduced soil moisture and hence increased surface sensible heat flux in the model, and there is statistically significant evidence that the variance of minimum temperatures will increase. Changes in summer rainfall are uncertain, with some models showing rainfall increases and others projecting reductions. All models show very large fluctuations in summer rainfall intensity which has important implications because of the increased risk of flash flooding and erosion of arable land. There is model consensus indicating a decline in winter rainfall and the spatial distribution of this rainfall decline is influenced by regional scale topography in two of the three simulations. Winter rainfall reduction is consistent with the historical trend of declining rainfall in SWWA, which has been attributed in previous research to a reduction in the number of fronts passing over the region. The continuation of this trend is evident in all models by an increase in winter mean sea level pressure in SWWA, and a reduced number of winter front days. Winter rainfall does not show any marked variations in daily intensity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
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