Drought on the way out as Bureau predicts La Nina

02 Jul, 2007 03:33 PM

From one extreme to the other - that is what scientists are now predicting after drought-ravaged regions of Australia received a soaking last week.

South-eastern Australia emerged from El Nino an atmospheric event characterised by drought and higher temperatures in February.

But a report issued by the Bureau of Meteorology last week has predicted the onset of La Nina, the opposite of El Nino, by the end of the year.

Already this month, the main indicator of La Nina and El Nino events, the Southern Oscillation Index, has increased from minus 2.7 to 11.7, bringing the second-highest monthly rainfall for 2007.

Bureau of Meteorology climate officer, Owen Offler, says Australia is in a "neutral phase at the moment and moving towards a La Nina event".

"We really are a country of drought and flooding rains," he said.

The world's six major climate models including those run by NASA and the Japanese Meteorology Agency have predicted that waters in the central Pacific will cool between August and October.

The results prompted the Bureau of Meteorology to say in its monthly El Nino report that "after stalling for around a month, there are renewed signs from the Pacific Basin which are consistent with the early stages of a La Nina event".

But The program leader of Climate Impact Sciences at the Bureau of Rural Sciences, John Sims, warned that irrigators would still struggle to secure a water supply in the short term.

Associate professor of climatology at the Australian National University, Dr Janette Lindesay, said that while it was likely La Nina would develop this year, its effects would not be enormous.

"It only accounts for about 10 or 15pc of the rainfall variability in south-east Australia," she said.

SOURCE: The Canberra Times.


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With the coal boom all but becoming a fading memory, and everyone wondering where the jobs of
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I don't feel you have captured the problem. The problem is Australians who have the wealth and