It’s official – La Niña is here
La Niña typically brings a wetter-than-average spring and summer to northern and eastern Australia as well as increased tropical cyclone numbers.
The last La Niña event, in 2010-2012, resulted in one of Australia’s wettest two-year periods on record and saw many areas experience flooding.
The Bureau says tropical cyclone activity in the 2010-2011 season was considered near normal.
However, five of the tropical cyclones during that time were in the severe category – including Tropical Cyclone Yasi, which caused widespread damage in North Queensland.
The BOM said it was likely this year would not see the same intensity as the 2010-11 La Niña event, but it was still likely to be of moderate strength.
The BOM had issued a La Niña alert in August but this week upgraded that status to an active event.
La Niña is the cool phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is associated with cooler than average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
La Niña events normally last for around a year, however they can be shorter, or much longer.
The BOM said recent observations and model forecasts showed the central tropical Pacific Ocean was now 0.8°C cooler than normal, and that had resulted in changes to Trade Winds and pressure patterns.
Climate models suggest these patterns will continue until at least the end of the year.
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