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A simple forecasting scheme for predicting low rainfalls in Funafuti, Tuvalu

The development of some ability for forecasting low rainfalls would be helpful in Tuvalu as rainwater is the only source of fresh water in the country. The subsurface water is brackish and saline so the entire country depends totally on rainwater for daily domestic supplies, agricultural and farming activities. More importantly, these atolls are often influenced by droughts which consequently make inadequate drinking water an issue. A simple graph-based forecasting scheme is developed and presented in this thesis for forecasting below average mean rainfall in Funafuti over the next n-month period. The approach uses precursor ocean surface temperature data to make predictions of below average rainfall for n = 1, 2 12. The simplicity of the approach makes it a suitable method for the country and thus for the Tuvalu Meteorological Service to use as an operational forecasting tool in the climate forecasting desk. The graphical method was derived from standardised monthly rainfalls from the Funafuti manual raingauge for the period January 1945 to July 2007. The method uses lag-1 and-lag 2 NINO4 sea surface temperatures to define whether prediction conditions hold. The persistence of predictability tends to be maintained when the observed NINO4 ocean surface temperatures fall below 26.0oC. Although the developed method has a high success probability of up to 80 percent, this can only be achieved when conditions are within the predictable field. A considerable number of below average rainfall periods are not within the predictable field and therefore cannot be forecast by this method. However, the graphical approach has particular value in warning when an existing drought is likely to continue.
Type of thesis
Vavae, H. (2008). A simple forecasting scheme for predicting low rainfalls in Funafuti, Tuvalu (Thesis, Master of Science (MSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2435
The University of Waikato
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