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Keywords:

  • Australasia;
  • climate change;
  • climate extremes;
  • precipitation;
  • Southeast Asia;
  • South Pacific;
  • temperature

Abstract

Trends in extreme daily temperature and rainfall have been analysed from 1961 to 1998 for Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. This 38-year period was chosen to optimize data availability across the region. Using high-quality data from 91 stations in 15 countries, significant increases were detected in the annual number of hot days and warm nights, with significant decreases in the annual number of cool days and cold nights. These trends in extreme temperatures showed considerable consistency across the region. Extreme rainfall trends were generally less spatially coherent than were those for extreme temperature. The number of rain days (with at least 2 mm of rain) has decreased significantly throughout Southeast Asia and the western and central South Pacific, but increased in the north of French Polynesia, in Fiji, and at some stations in Australia. The proportion of annual rainfall from extreme events has increased at a majority of stations. The frequency of extreme rainfall events has declined at most stations (but not significantly), although significant increases were detected in French Polynesia. Trends in the average intensity of the wettest rainfall events each year were generally weak and not significant. Copyright © 2001 Royal Meteorological Society