Guest essay by Eric Worrall
As the La Niña warmed Western Pacific Ocean surface delivers much needed rainfall to Australia’s arid regions, the Climate Council urges everyone to remember that warmer temperatures are bad.
STEAMY AND STORMY: CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUMMER 2021-22
La Niña is set to shape Australia’s summer 2021-22 with above-average rainfall forecast for eastern parts of the continent; elevating flood risks. Most of Australia, except in parts of the southeast, should expect above average maximum summer temperatures.
This explainer distils the latest advice from the Bureau of Meteorology on what to expect this summer. It takes stock of extreme weather risks, takes a close look at the impact of La Niña – the dominant climate driver affecting our weather now – and puts it all in the context of our changing climate.
The odds are stacked (1.5 to 3 times more likely) in favour of some unusually high maximum temperatures for most of the country away from the southeast. Below average daytime temperatures are likely for eastern NSW.
What extreme weather risks are we looking at this summer?
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Summer Outlook 2021-22 shows it is likely to be wetter than average for eastern parts of the continent, with higher risk of heavy rainfall and widespread flooding for these areas.
When it comes to cyclones, during La Niña years there are typically more cyclones in the Australian region than during non-La Niña years. During the 2010-12 La Niña there were several notable cyclones, including Cyclone Yasi – one of the strongest and costliest in Australia’s history. Every year in which there have been more than one severe landfalling tropical cyclone in Queensland was a La Niña year. The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted an average to slightly-above-average number of cyclones for the 2021-22 season.
…Read more: https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/steamy-stormy-climate-change-summer-2021-22/
If slight La Niña warming can bring all this desperately needed rainfall to Australia, imagine if there was a permanent warming of the entire Pacific Ocean surface. Imagine if Australia, California, Arizona, Western Mexico, the Atacama Desert, and all the other arid regions bordering the Pacific ocean had a wetter climate all the time, instead of just when a visiting La Niña or El Niño temporarily boosts local sea surface temperatures.
The entire Pacific Rim would be a garden, with former deserts filled with wildflowers and trees, and lush farms filled with prosperity.
But nothing like this is likely to happen in my lifetime, sadly.