It’s Looking More & More Likely We’re Getting A Third La Niña So Here’s Yr 3 Minute Explainer

In some bad news for your bedsheets/social life/dreams of having a dry house, the Besties of Meteorology — better known as the Bureau of Meteorology — has updated its La Niña status to “alert”.

That means it’s looking increasingly likely that we’re going to have a third La Niña. While that’s been on the cards for a little while now, the BoM’s climate models indicate that it’s now “likely” for our spring and summer.

Historically, when La Niña alert criteria have been met, La Niña has subsequently developed around 70 per cent of the time,” the BoM said.

“This is approximately triple the normal likelihood.”

You may have already heard the news that we’re due for a soggy spring, with Queensland facing a potential six months of rain. BoM meteorologist Laura Boekel said we’re going to see more rain because a possible La Niña could crossover with another weather system, the negative Indian Ocean Dipole.

“We’re gearing up for a season that could see quite a bit of flooding across spring,” she said in a conference with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

In short, another La Niña would mean above average rainfall for north and eastern Australia over spring and summer.

How common is a triple La Niña?

The triple-dip La Niña is pretty fucking rare — the last one was between 1998 and 2001, as per the ABC. It’d be the fourth recorded triple La Niña since 1900. Four out of the seven climate models sussed out by the BoM predicts it returning in early to late spring.

And yep, there’s a solid chance climate change is part of the reason.

Andrew Schmidt, a meteorologist for Weatherzone, spoke to 9News about Ms Sopping Sally herself.

“Climate change is probably one of the bigger drivers,” he said.


What are some of the potential consequences of a third La Niña?

Thanks to the devastating impact of the last two La Niñas, a third could mean increased flooding because Aus hasn’t really had a chance to recover. The land isn’t necessarily prepared for another bout of rain because it hasn’t been able to dry.

As pointed out by the ABC, loads of our dams and other forms of water storage are already full.

BoM meteorologist Jonathan How listed some of the impacts of another Ms Niña.

As many Australians in the east know the soils are still quite wet, the rivers are running quite high, and the dams are full, and with this outlook of increased rainfall, it does bring elevated flood risks for much of eastern Australia,” he said per SBS

How is the Indian Ocean Dipole related?

A negative Indian Ocean Dipole happens when waters in the east Indian Ocean are warmer than in the west, according to Uni of Melb climate science lecturer Andrew King.

One of the things making the potential impacts of another Ms Niña worse is the fact that we currently have a negative IOD, and it’s like to keep going into spring.

A negative IOD usually means above average rain for winter and spring.

So a combo of the two? Not great.

Much like an annoying, late night guest who hasn’t got the memo that kick ons is over, it seems La Niña may continue lingering for another season. Wet Girl Summer it is.