Consistent with Tuesday’s La Niña declaration, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Summer Outlook shows Australia is likely to experience a wetter than average summer, with an increased risk of tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall and widespread flooding.
The Bureau’s Head of Operational Climate Services, Dr Andrew Watkins said several climate drivers are likely to create continuing wet conditions for parts of eastern Australia this summer.
“Over winter and spring, we saw a negative Indian Ocean Dipole, a pattern of ocean temperature patterns in the oceans to our west that was favourable to rainfall over Australia, and a dominant influence on our climate. While this event is approaching its end, warmer waters to the north-west of Australia may persist, and continue to increase the chance of rainfall.”
“The big driver looking at the months ahead is La Niña, which is now established in the Pacific Ocean for the second year in a row. La Niña describes a pattern of ocean temperatures that sees warmer waters in the western Pacific, which in turn drives increased atmospheric moisture and rainfall, including heavy rainfall, over Australia. This pattern is likely to continue through until at least the end of January.”
Even though this will be a wetter summer for many, Dr Watkins said the outlook was an important reminder for the community to always be vigilant for the potential risks of severe weather.
Summer days are likely to be warmer than average across most of Australia.. Minimum temperatures are likely to be above average across most of the country, so we’re in for some warmer nights.
“The risk of heatwaves is about average this year, and it’s important to remember that heatwaves are Australia’s most deadly natural hazard. Warm nights after hot days, in particular, make heat stress a significant health risk,” Dr Watkins said.
However, there is some good news, bushfire risk may not be as high this summer as in some recent years, but bushfires happen every summer in Australia and even short periods of hot and windy weather will raise the fire risk.
“This year we need to be extra careful about grass and crop fires, particularly across inland areas and in the southwest of the country where we have had good growth over winter and spring,” Dr Watkins said.