Science and Nature

Australia declares La Niña for second year in a row

Australia declares La Niña for second year in a row thumbnail

By: Reuters | Sydney |

November 23, 2021 10:22:43 am

A woman walks past the swollen Parramatta River as the state of New South Wales experiences heavy rains, in Sydney, Australia, March 20, 2021. (Twitter/@Reuters)

Australia’s weather bureau said on Tuesday a La Niña weather phenomenon had developed in the Pacific Ocean for the second year in a row that could bring above average rainfall across the country’s centre, north and east.

La Niña is typically associated with greater rainfall, more tropical cyclones, and cooler than average temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The weather event could boost Australia’s wheat yields. In September, the country lifted its wheat forecast for this season by 17 per cent to near record levels citing favourable weather.

A wetter than usual end to the year could also result in a less severe bushfire season. “Back-to-back La Niña events are not unusual, with around half of all past events returning for a second year,” Andrew Watkins, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Head of Operational Climate Services, said in a statement.

La Niña events normally last about a year but climate models suggest this year’s pattern will be short-lived, persisting until the late southern hemisphere summer or early autumn 2022, Watkins said.

“Every La Niña has different impacts, as it is not the only climate driver to affect Australia at any one time,” he said.

The United States weather forecaster last month said La Niña conditions had developed and there was an 87 per cent chance of the weather pattern continuing through the December-February period.

Australia’s weather bureau had moved its La Niña status to ‘watch’ in September and upgraded it to ‘alert’ last month.

A low-pressure system early this month dumped 50 to 150 millimetres of rain in some parts of the southeast, the highest in years, triggering floods across parts of Queensland and inland New South Wales states.

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