From 1999, rainfall at Manilla NSW matched ENSO only up to 2011, before the IPO became positive.
This graphical log compares the rainfall at Manilla NSW with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) through the 21st century to date. Values shown are anomalies, smoothed. (See Notes below on “Data”, “Smoothing”, and “Lagged Rainfall”.)
Rainfall (black) uses the left axis scale; the ENSO (magenta) and the IPO (green) use the inverted right axis scale.
[21st century temperature and rainfall at Manilla are compared as smoothed data in the post “21-C Climate: Mackellar cycles”.]
Matches between rainfall and ENSO
There is an excellent match between the rainfall and ENSO values in the left part of the graph.
I improved the visual match by various means:
1. The ENSO scale (magenta) is inverted, because positive values of the ENSO anomaly relate to negative values of rainfall anomaly here.
2. The scales are harmonised: the zero values are aligned, and 20 mm of monthly rainfall anomaly is scaled to (minus) one degree of ENSO anomaly.
3. Smoothing is applied to suppress cycles shorter than 12 months.
4. Rainfall anomaly values are lagged by two months. (See the Note below.)
As lagged, most peaks and troughs of rainfall coincide with troughs and peaks of ENSO, and their sizes (as scaled) are often similar.
Failure to match rainfall and ENSO
In the right part of the graph, the match between rainfall and ENSO fails. There are extreme mismatches: the Super-El Niño of 2014-16 had no effect on local rainfall, the rainfall deluge of 2011-12 came with a mild and declining La Niña, and the extreme drought of 2018 came while ENSO was neutral.
By visual inspection, I judge that a close relation of rainfall to ENSO, which had applied for the twelve years up to September 2011, then failed for the following seven years.
Influence of the IPO
The inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) affects the relation between ENSO and Australian weather. (See note below “Effect of the IPO”.)
Power et al.(1999) show that Australian seasonal weather and its prediction align with ENSO only when the IPO is negative. It follows that a good match between ENSO and Manilla rainfall was expected while the IPO (green) was negative from 1999 to 2013, and was not expected from 2014 to 2017. The trend of the IPO through 2016-17 makes it likely that the IPO continued positive through 2018, as the mismatch between rainfall and ENSO persisted.
Power et al. note that the relation is not sensitive to the width of a neutral zone chosen to separate the positive and negative regimens of the IPO. In this particular case, the rainfall/ENSO match failed as the IPO rose through minus one degrees. However, the rainfall/ENSO match began in 1999, much earlier than the time when the IPO fell through minus one degrees.
In a following post I show scatter plots and regressions for the periods of match and mismatch on this graphical log.