The last two years of wet conditions in eastern Australia looks set to come to an end, judging by long-term weather patterns, according to the CSIRO.
There has been record production achieved in the agricultural sector after two seasons of strong rainfall across eastern Australia.
This week, we spoke to one of the nation’s top climatologists, a senior research Scientist in Marine and Atmospheric Research at CSIRO, Dr James Risbey, to find out what's in store for the nation's weather in 2022.
With two back-to-back La Niña weather patterns creating wetter than average conditions in the eastern part of the continent, Australians have seen the country move from the worst drought on record to a period of heavy rainfall.
The wet conditions have brought the agricultural industry back from the brink to a period of record production.
La Niña hat-trick historically 'rare'
However, Dr Risbey told Yahoo News Australia the wet weather was not likely to continue into next season and may possibly return to dry conditions, given the rarity of La Niña repeating for a third consecutive year.
“The last few months has been quite wet across Australia, particularly the southeast Queensland and NSW areas,” Dr Risbey said.
“That coincides with the La Niña, which tilts the odds for a wetter spring and summer in the eastern part of the continent.
“We’ve had two La Ninas in a row, that is reasonably common in the records, but they do point out that two La Niñas are unlikely to be followed by a third.
“It has happened but it’s quite rare and it would suggest it would be more likely to move back to normal or drier conditions.”
Dr Risbey said due to the unpredictability of long-term rainfall patterns, particularly in Australia, climatologists were unable to predict rainfall patterns more than 12 months in advance.
While increases in temperature linked to climate change are easier to predict, the jury is still out on whether it has an affect on rainfall.
“In terms of the climate change impact on rainfall, that’s a tough one to unravel,” he said
“Rainfall is tough to go more than one season ahead while temperatures are more predictable.
“People have spent a lot of time studying the relationship between (rainfall and) climate change.
“It’s a pretty safe bet temperatures are getting warmer, (but) rainfall in Australia is so highly variable and it’s going to be hard to unpick a climate change signal.
“There is a longer term cycle in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, where it changes between El Nino and La Niña, where it was more likely to be the former and now it’s the latter. But they only weakly change the odds.”
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