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Pacific ENSO Update

1st Quarter, 2012 Vol. 18 No. 1


Palau Flag Republic of Palau: The 2011 annual rainfall at the WSO Koror set a new record high: the 205.86 inches of rainfall was the highest annual total in a period of record at Koror that extends back to 1948 and also contains a period of climatic record-keeping by the Japanese that covers the years 1932-37. The previous record-high annual total at Koror occurred during 1974 when 184.99 inches was observed. The 2011 annual rainfall total was even higher at the Palau International Airport (PIA) where the 215.52 inches was the second-highest 2011 annual total seen in all of Micronesia. It was exceeded only slightly by the 216.26 inches recorded at Palikir, Pohnpei Island. The PIA has only a short record that begins in 2004, and it is usually wetter there than at the Koror WSO located only a few miles to the southwest. While the airport in its short history has a record of being wetter than Koror, Peleliu has a history of being slightly drier than at the WSO, and this was true during 2011 when the annual total there was 171.25 inches. The weather and climate conditions during 2011 in the Republic of Palau, though persistently wet, were relatively tranquil and uneventful. There were a few rainfall events that caused minor mudslides on Babeldaob.

Republic of Palau State Rainfall Summary 4th Quarter 2011

Station   Oct Nov Dec 4th Qtr Annual
Koror WSO
Rainfall (inches)
14.39
7.04
10.79
32.22
205.86
% of Normal
104%
62%
90%
87%
139%
Nekken
Rainfall (inches)
12.10*
9.56*
12.46*
34.12*
169.88
% of WSO
87%
84%
104%
106%
115%
International
Airport
Rainfall (inches)
16.63
12.07
14.12
42.82
215.52
% of WSO
119%
107%
118%
115%
146%
Peleliu
Rainfall (inches)
9.90
16.37
13.00
39.27
171.25
% of WSO
71%
145%
108%
106%
116%

* Estimated from nearby stations

Climate Outlook: The Republic of Palau is likely to continue to be wetter than normal for at least the next few months. Beyond that, it is hard to envision Koror setting another new record high annual rainfall during 2012, and conditions that contributed to such high rainfall (e.g., part of the monsoon trough anchored in the vicinity of Palau for much of 2011) are not likely to be repeated during 2012. Normally the monsoon trough moves far enough north of Palau in August through September so that a “mini” dry season occurs, and hazy dry southwest winds are a common weather pattern. During the summer of 2012, it is anticipated that the monsoon trough will likely exhibit a more normal behavior and the rainfall on Palau will not be quite so persistently heavy as it was during 2011. Palau is one of the few places in Micronesia where an upward trend in annual rainfall is observed across its period of record. At Yap there is no observed long-term trend; on Guam there is a slight upward trend; and, across most of the rest of Micronesia, the trend of annual rainfall is downward.

It may be interesting to note that exactly one year ago, the PEAC Center made the following forecast: “With La Niña weakened, the southwest monsoon will extend further into the western North Pacific than it did during 2010. There will therefore be an increase of monsoon depressions and other tropical disturbances that will provide abundant rainfall to Palau throughout the year [i.e., 2011].”

Forecast rainfall for Palau from January 2012 through December 2012 is as follows:


Inclusive Period
% of Long-Term Average Rainfall /
Forecast Rainfall (inches)
January -March 2012
110%
(32.60 inches)

April - June 2012

110%
July - September 2012
100%
October - December 2012
110%

Forecast rainfall quantities represent BEST ESTIMATES given the probabalistic forecast for each particular season and station.

source: UOG-WERI



Pacific ENSO Applications Climate (PEAC) Center
c/o NOAA NWS - Weather Forecast Office Honolulu
2525 Correa Road, suite 250
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-2324

Web Master's email: peac@noaa.gov
Page Last Modified: March 22 2012 05:05:08 GMT

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