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Variability of rainfall in Peninsular Malaysia

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Abstract:

This study analyzed and quantified the spatial patterns and time-variability of rainfall in Peninsular Malaysia on monthly, yearly and monsoon temporal scales. We first obtained an overview of rainfall patterns through the analysis of 16 point data sources. The results led to choosing three distinct regions, i.e.~the east coast, inland and west coast regions. For detailed analysis, Shepard's interpolation scheme was applied to the station data to produce daily rainfall fields on a 0.05 degree resolution grids for the period 1971–2006. The rainfall characteristics in time and space derived from a frequency analysis were found to be distinctly different in these three regions. In the east coast region, monthly rainfall shows a significant periodicity dominated by an annual cycle, followed by a half-year cycle. The inland and west coast regions show that the dominant periodic fluctuations in the monthly rainfall are dominated by a half-year cycle, followed by an annual cycle. The long-term rainfall variability analysis shows that the dry and wet conditions in Peninsular Malaysia are not primarily governed by the ENSO events. The results from the individual regions suggest that although the relative variability is influenced by ENSO, local and regional conditions have an effect on the interannual rainfall variability, which is superimposed on the large-scale weather conditions. A significant increasing trends in annual rainfall (9.3 mm/year) and northeast monsoon rainfall (6.2 mm/monsoon) were only detected in the west coast region. No trend was found in the monthly rainfall, except for November in the west coast region. The spatial variation analysis shows that the east coast region, which received substantially higher amounts of rainfall during the northeast monsoon, has lower spatial rainfall variability and a more uniform rainfall distribution than other regions. A larger range for the monthly spatial variation was observed in the west coast region.

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