The third consecutive La Niña has barely begun but she is so sopping wet Sydney broke its record for the wettest year yet… in October. It’s been so soggy there’s already talk of a possible fourth La Niña weather event next year, which has never happened before and would be extremely not good.
This summer is the third time since 1900 Australia has seen three La Niñas in a row, the others being 1954-57, 1973-76, and 1998-2001. Four in a row is unheard of, but some scientists suggest La Niña and La Niña-like conditions could be getting worse and more frequent thanks to human-induced climate change.
A study of the flooding rains in Queensland during the last La Niña in 2010 and 2011 found ocean warming caused by increased emissions had increased the chance of extreme rainfall in the state.
“We know the background warming of the ocean and the atmosphere has increased the moisture that can bring rain,” University of New South Wales climate scientist Dr Andrea Taschetto told Guardian Australia.
“There are projections showing that in the future there will be an increased frequency of extreme La Niña and El Niño events.”
To jog your memory: La Niña is one of the three phases of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Its recurring themes are cold, wet and misery.
It’s the reason for the widespread and devastating flooding that’s plagued NSW this year and has residents on edge for this summer.
A #LaNiña event is underway in the Pacific Ocean. The Bureau’s 3-month climate outlook shows a high chance of above-average rainfall for the eastern half of Australia. La Niña is not the only driver influencing this wet outlook. Learn more – https://t.co/Sxi7noGXVN pic.twitter.com/JJ7aYtxEEm
— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) September 13, 2022
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted this event will end in February, but meteorologist Tom Saunders he it was too early to be sure what could happen.
“I’d say it’s very unlikely, but you can’t rule it out entirely,” he said.
So don’t panic yet. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.