Observed trends in indices of daily and extreme temperature and precipitation for the countries of the western Indian Ocean, 1961–2008



[1] A workshop on climate change indices was held at the Mauritius Meteorological Services in October 2009 to produce the first analysis of climate trends for the countries of the western Indian Ocean. Scientists brought their long-term daily temperature and precipitation for a careful assessment of data quality and homogeneity, and for the preparation of climate change indices. This paper reports on the trends in daily and extreme temperature and precipitation indices for 1961–2008. The results indicate a definitive warming of surface air temperature at land stations. Annual means of the daytime and nighttime temperatures have increased at a similar rate, leading to no discernible change in the diurnal temperature range. Significant increasing trends were found in the frequency of warm days and warm nights, while decreasing trends were observed in the frequency of cold days and cold nights. Moreover, it seems that the warm extremes have changed more than the cold extremes in the western Indian Ocean region. Trends in precipitation indices are generally weak and show less spatial coherence. Regionally, a significant decrease was found in the annual total rainfall for the past 48 years. The results also show some increase in consecutive dry days, no change in daily intensity and consecutive wet days, and a decrease in extreme precipitation events. Temperature indices are highly correlated with sea surface temperatures of the region, whereas weak correlations are found with the precipitation indices.