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Wet weather ahead!

By , 9 October 2020

A kookaburra in the rain

It’s going to be a wet few months for most Australians
Image: ©istock.com/tracielouise

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a wet spring and summer for Australia. How can they be confident in these long-term predictions? It’s because they’re not just watching weather as it happens, they’re also looking at what causes the weather.

We’re experiencing La Niña, but what is it?

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation is a pattern of ocean and weather events, which happens in the Pacific Ocean.

air circulating in the pacific ocean blows warm water from South America to Australia

La Niña brings warm water to Australia’s north
Image: Bureau of Meteorology

In an average year, winds blow warm water from over near South America to the ocean north of Australia.

Some years, this pattern changes and the warm water stays near South America. Scientists call this El Niño, and it often means less rain for Australia.

Recently, the Bureau of Meteorology declared a La Niña. It’s a bit like a normal year, only supercharged. Much more warm water than usual is being blown to Australia’s north. That means more water is evaporating there, causing more moisture in the air, leading to more rain for our region.

Other patterns in the rain

air circulation brings warm water from africa to australia

A negative Indian Ocean Dipole also brings warm water to Australia’s north
Image: Bureau of Meteorology

There’s a bit more to Australia’s upcoming wet conditions. The Pacific might be the biggest ocean, but it’s not the only one that affects Australia’s weather.

Over in the Indian Ocean, there’s a similar pattern called the Indian Ocean Dipole. Warm water can be blown east to Indonesia or west to Africa.

Right now, the Indian Ocean Dipole is negative, which means there’s warm water around Indonesia. That means even more rain for Australia! Yet it doesn’t always fall where you might expect. When the warm water is north and west of Australia, a negative dipole usually means more rain for southern Australia.

Warm days, warm nights

That’s not all the Bureau is predicting! They expect that days will be hotter than average in the north of Australia and in Tasmania, and that nights will be warmer than usual over almost all of Australia. If you’re interested in in the very latest predictions, head over to the Bureau of Meteorology website!

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