La Niña is back, y’all. The Bureau of Meteorology officially announced the formation of the whether pattern in our neck of the woods this afternoon, setting us up for a slightly colder and much wetter-than-usual summer.
The last time Australia experienced this kind of weather was back in 2010-12. Here’s what it means this time around.
La Niña (Spanish for “the girl”) is associated with cooler temperatures across the South Pacific and Australia’s east coast. It’s the opposite of El Niño (Spanish for, you guessed it, “the boy”), which we’ve come to associate with massive droughts. The two weather patterns periodically oscillate between South America and Oceania.
“La Niña events often form in autumn or winter, then decay in late summer,” a spokesperson for the BoM said in a statement.
“The greatest impact normally occurs during the spring and early summer period.”
The Bureau has confirmed that #LaNiña has formed in the tropical Pacific, with climate models suggesting it's likely to remain until at least the end of 2020.
— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) September 29, 2020
The weather event is expected to last until at least the end of the year, likely bringing rain, storms and potentially even floods.
In the last La Niña, we saw widespread floods (especially in Queensland) and several tropical cyclones including Cyclone Yasi.
“The impacts of La Niña can vary significantly between events,” the BoM said.
“It is likely this year will not see the same intensity as the 2010-11 La Niña event, but is still likely to be of moderate strength.”
That said, it’s still going to be a wet summer, even for the southeast like NSW and Victoria.
“Typically more rainfall, wetter soils, higher rivers, more water going into our storage as well, which is a good thing in many areas, but it also increases the risk of flooding,” BoM Manager of Climate Operations Dr Andrew Watkins.
And if you you thought this might mean we’d get off scot-free from bushfires, think again.
“In terms of bushfires and heatwaves, well luckily it reduces the risk of getting those really extreme heatwaves, but unfortunately the heatwaves we do get tend to be longer in duration and could be more humid as well,” Watkins added.
“It reduces the fire risk a little, but of course southeastern Australia – one of the most fire-prone places in the world – we’re not going to get through a summer without seeing any fires.”
More rain, still a chance of bushfires. Damn.