After years of the weather dial being set to cold and wet, Australia is now being clicked over to the other uncomfortable extreme of hot and dry because stability is a thing of the past.
The Bureau of Meteorology, AKA The Bureau, AKA The Artist Formerly Known As The Bureau, AKA the BoM, has released its latest climate driver update which says that La Niña “is likely near its end.”
“Ocean indicators of La Niña have returned to neutral levels, while atmospheric indicators that remain at La Niña levels have started to weaken,” the BoM said in a statement.
International climate models have given a similar outlook, with all but one saying that sea temperatures in the Pacific will return to normal throughout the Autumn.
The Southern Annular Mode (SAM), which affects wind and rain throughout southern Australia, is currently in its positive phase, bringing less rain to the region, but will likely return to neutral over the coming weeks.
High sea temperatures are still hanging around the south-east and the west of Australia, while the rest of the country is seeing more normal temperatures for this time of year.
This all being said, the international climate models that the BoM is surveying all indicate that we will be heading towards an El Niño and could cross into that threshold in May. El Niño, as the opposite of La Niña, typically sees cooler sea temperatures and lower than average rainfall in eastern parts of Australia. While that might be a good thing given the soaking we’ve had over the past few years, this can also increase the risk of droughts and bushfires.
The BoM does warn that, although “models suggest there is an increased risk of El Niño developing,” long-term weather forecasting is typically unreliable and “outlooks that extend past autumn should be viewed with caution”.