Winter rainfall over southwest Western Australia (SWWA) has decreased by 20% since the late 1960s. Why has the reduction occurred in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) winter months but not in summer? To what extent is this reduction attributable to anthropogenic forcing and congruent with the Southern Annular Mode (SAM)? Using reanalysis data and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) 20th century model experiments, we show that a SAM-SWWA relationship exists in winter and not in other seasons. An ensemble result from 71 experiments reveals that anthropogenic forcing contributes to about 50% of the observed rainfall decline. Approximately 70% of the observed trend is congruent with the SAM trend, whereas for the models it is 46%. Our result suggests that other forcing factors must be invoked to fully account for the observed rainfall reduction.
- HEMISPHERE CLIMATE-CHANGE
- SOUTHERN ANNULAR MODE