States in the eastern parts of Australia are set to experience extreme weather events associated with colder weather and severe winds this season, as the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reports that a La Niña has formed within the Pacific Ocean.
La Niña is a phenomenon in the atmosphere that’s triggered by strong winds over the oceanic waters around the equator like the Pacific Ocean that stirs up frosty waters thereby causing sharp shifts during on-land weather conditions.
For the Land Down Under, that might translate to extremely huge amounts of rain that could lead to catastrophic flash flooding, a sharp dip in temperatures and an early and frequenting cyclone season.
“We’ve got warmer waters now near Australia and cooler waters off South America, and that tends to favour rainfall and cloudiness near Australia, it tends to favour more rain and some cooler temperatures over the coming months,” noted Dr Andrew Watkins, BoM Manager of Climate Operations.
“Typically with La Niña, we do see more tropical cyclones than normal. Typically we see nine to 11 tropical cyclones in any season; this would usually push up the number of tropical cyclones that we see.”
Pacific Ocean Has Interfered With The Oceanic Winds
According to the BOM reports for the past few months, a 0.8 degrees Celsius drop in temperatures in some parts of the Pacific Ocean has interfered with the oceanic winds tracking between the two continents, meaning the potentially dangerous weather could hit before the fall of 2020.
The last time a notable extend of La Niña occurred in the country was in the period between December 2010 and March 2011, causing Australia’s wettest two-year season ever recorded.
“Tropical cyclone activity in the 2010-2011 season was near normal. However, five of the tropical cyclones during 2010-11 were in the severe category, which is above average, including Tropical Cyclone Yasi which caused widespread damage to far north Queensland,” a BoM statement read in part.
“The impacts of La Niña can vary significantly between events. It is likely this year will not see the same intensity as the 2010-11 La Niña events, but is still likely to be of moderate strength.”
Major Rainfall Or Flooding Events
Any major rainfall or flooding events in Australia often occur after years of severe drought in most parts of the country especially the remote and regional areas, and is later followed by the wettest start of the year period in a decade for some parts.
In the first three months of the year ending March, rainfall is either “above average” or “very much above average” for most parts of Victoria, New South Wales and southern Queensland, this is according to a partial monthly drought update released by the BOM.
La Niña has formed already and relevant authorities are busy preparing to combat a fresh bushfire season after last year’s devastating catastrophe; however meteorologists at the BOM give hope that an increase in rainfall could dampen the chances of the forecast fires becoming disastrous.
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