Precipitation trends in Victoria, Australia

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Annual rainfall series trends were investigated for more than 100 years of data using two non-parametric trend tests Mann–Kendall (MK) and Sen's slope (Q) for five selected meteorological stations in Victoria, Australia. The annual rainfall time series showed no significant trends for any of the five stations. To assess the sensitivity of trends to the length of the time periods considered, the annual rainfall analysis was repeated using recent data from approximately half the data set between 1949 and 2011. Contrasting results from the original full data set analysis were revealed. All five stations showed decreasing trends with two stations showing significant trends suggesting that this recent time period has added more low precipitation data to the time series. The year of abrupt changes for all the five stations identified using the sequential MK test varied. Conclusions drawn from this paper, point to the importance of selecting the time series data length in identifying trends and abrupt changes. Due to the climate variability, trend testing results might be biased and strongly dependent on the data period selected. Therefore, use of the full data set available would be required in order to improve understanding of change or to undertake any further studies.

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