It’s been rather wet in Brisbane the last couple of years with La Niña bringing record-breaking rainfall.
La Niña is the cool phase of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), usually bringing more rain to Australia, as witnessed in the Brisbane floods in March, a year ago.
The Bureau of Meteorology has now moved into a neutral phase, neither La Niña (rainy season) nor El Niño (dry season).
El Niño WATCH is now in place with some signs of El Niño forming later in 2023.
Bureau of Meteorology Technical Lead Extended Prediction Dr Andrew Watkins said after 3 years of La Niña and record-breaking rainfall in eastern Australia, the Bureau’s long-range forecast shows drier than average conditions for most of Australia over the coming months.
“Even if El Niño impacts Australia, this does not necessarily lead to drought” Dr Watkins, Bureau of Meteorology
“Long-range forecasts show there’s an increased chance of below average rainfall for most of Australia during autumn 2023,” Dr Watkins said.
“But the northern wet season, including the tropical cyclone season, for northern Australia continues during March and April, so there remains the chance of tropical weather systems bringing heavy rain at times to the north.”
If these tropical weather systems extend south, there remains the possibility of periods of heavy rainfall, and flooding, particularly in parts of eastern Australia where soils remain wet and rivers and dams are still full.
Dr Watkins said should the chance of El Niño forming later in 2023 increase to around 70%, the Bureau will change to El Niño ALERT status.
“Even if El Niño impacts Australia, this does not necessarily lead to drought,” he said.
“There have been 27 El Niño years since 1900, and around 18 of those years were affected by widespread winter–spring drought.”
Long-range forecasts and more information about El Niño and La Niña are available on the Bureau of Meteorology’s website.
96five’s Ken and Nicky caught up with Channel 7 Meteorologist Tony Auden to learn about the heat wave affecting Brisbane and what the end of La Niña means for Queensland. Listen to the interview in the player above.
Feature Image: Ben Carless on Unsplash