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The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) today declared a La Niña has developed in the Pacific Ocean, leading to wetter than normal periods for eastern, northern and central parts of the nation.
La Niña often results in above-average rainfall, cloud cover and cooler temperatures.
“La Niña also increases the chance of cooler than average daytime temperatures for large parts of Australia,” Dr Andrew Watkins, from the BoM, said.
The announcement of a La Niña event explains the above-average rainfall over the past month.
“La Niña is also associated with earlier first rains of the northern wet season, as we’ve observed across much of tropical Australia this year,” Dr Watkins said.
Weatherzone said heat extremes are generally less frequent during La Niña years, but lower-intensity heat for prolonged periods can be expected.
More cyclones are usually forecast during a La Niña.
“La Niña also increases the likelihood of an earlier-than-usual start to the cyclone season,” Ben Domensino from Weatherzone said.
“This helps explain why Tropical Cyclone Paddy became the first named cyclone of the 2021/22 season, a few weeks earlier than average.”
Australia experienced La Niña during spring and summer last year.
Dr Watkins said it’s not uncommon to see “back-to-back” La Niña events.
The last significant La Nina was between 2010 and 2012.
“This strong event saw large impacts across Australia, including Australia’s wettest two-year periods on record, and widespread flooding,” Dr Watkins said.
Dr Watkins said this year’s event is not predicted to be as strong as the 2010-2012 event and may even be weaker than last year’s La Niña.
Australia is already feeling the impact of La Niña, with widespread rain and thunderstorms across the nation over the last week.
More wet weather is predicted for the next few days.
La Niña is expected to persist until at least the end of January next year.