We all felt it coming but it’s finally offish – the Bureau of Meteorology has just declared a La Niña event, which means we’re in for a soggy summer.
La Niña is a climate driver that usually brings increased rainfall across the eastern, northern and central parts of Australia, cooler daytime temperatures south of the tropics, warmer overnight temperatures up north, shifts in temperature extremes, more tropical cyclones and an earlier monsoon season.
La Niña (meaning ‘the girl’) is part of a cycle known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a naturally occurring shift in ocean temperatures and weather patterns along the equator in the Pacific Ocean. El Niño, the boy, is the opposite, often bringing droughts and extreme heatwaves.
This is the second year in a row we’re in her sloppy grip after a 10-year break, and she’s gonna stick around until at least the end of January 2022.
But dw, the Bureau’s Head of Operational Climate Services, Dr Andrew Watkins, said that this year’s is not predicted to be as strong as the 2010-12 event and may not even be as bad as last year’s.
“The last significant La Niña was 2010-12,” Dr Watkins said.
“This strong event saw large impacts across Australia, including Australia’s wettest two-year periods on record, and widespread flooding.
“Every La Niña has different impacts, as it is not the only climate driver to affect Australia at any one time.”
But there’s still a risk of bushfires, so given that south-eastern Australia is one of the most fire-prone places in the world, it’s likely we’ll still see a few.
You can use the Bureau’s climate outlooks tools online to get a sense of likely conditions for the months ahead, but for now, better check the app before making weekend plans because a shitload of rain is on its way to the east coast.