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Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment

About the Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment (MCTEX)

The MCTEX experimental program was undertaken over the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, Australia during November and December 1995.

Map of the Tiwi islands north of Darwin (Australian Geographic, Vol 48, 1997)

The core objective of MCTEX is to improve understanding of the dynamics and interaction of the physical processes involved in the organisation and lifecycle of tropical island convection over the Maritime Continent and the role of this convection in the atmospheric energy and moisture balance.

Monash University maintained four surface energy balance sites across the island measuring the fluxes of heat and moisture that were input to the thunderstorms.

Maxwells Creek Apsley Strait

Roller Plains Pikataramoor Tower

MCTEX was a multi-national program with funding contributed by a number of agencies. Specific aims of the Monash Environmental Climatology Group were to:

  • Investigate and quantify the surface energy fluxes, accounting for interactions with and between radiation and energy fluxes, sea and land breeze circulation's, cloud, and thunderstorm inflows and outflows as components of mesoscale structure
  • Establish a basic climatology of the land-sea breeze regime over the Tiwi Islands, concentrating on inter and intra-seasonal differences and linking especially with the development of island thunderstorms
  • Undertake numerical studies of island convection and convective systems

The Monash group from left to right (Alan Wain, Andrew Oliphant, Rob Schafer, David McJannet, Simon, Jason Beringer, Bernie, Nigel Tapper)

Monash's involvement in MCTEX was funded by the Australian Research Council.

The Official MCTEX page


Beringer, J., N. Tapper and T. Keenan. "The role of varying meteorological conditions in the evolution of maritime continent thunderstorms over the Tiwi Islands." International Journal of Climatology, in press.

Keenan, T., S. Rutledge, R. Carbone, J. Wilson, T. Takahashi, P. May, N. Tapper, M. Platt, J. Hacker, S. Sekelsky, M. Moncrieff, K. Saito, G. Holland, A. Crook and K. Gage. 2000. "The Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment (MCTEX): Overview and some results." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 81: 2433-2455.

Oliphant, A., A. Sturman and N. Tapper, 2000, "The evolution and structure of a tropical island sea/land breeze system, Northern Australia." Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, in press.

Beringer, J. and N. Tapper, 1998, "The energy balance of a tropical forested site on the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, Australia." Preprint Volume, 23rd Conference on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 34-37, American Meteorological Society.

Tapper, N. and J. Beringer, 1997, "Measurements of surface energy fluxes over the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, Australia, during the Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment (MCTEX)." Preprint Volume, 5th International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography, 392-393, American Meteorological Society.

Beringer, J. and N. Tapper, 1997, "Surface energy balance measurements over the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, Australia, during the Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment (MCTEX)." Preprint Volume, 22nd Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, 374-375, American Meteorological Society.