La Niña is officially here for the third year in a row. You probably associate it with flooding, but how might it affect future drought and bushfires? And could a fourth La Niña be possible?
After weeks of anticipation, it’s finally official: the Bureau of Meteorology has declared another La Niña is underway. This means Australia’s east coast will likely endure yet another wet, and relatively cool, spring and summer.
It’s the third La Niña event in a row. This is rare, but not unheard of. Triple La Niñas have also occurred in, for example, 1973–1976 and 1998–2001.
The past two La Niñas mean water catchments are already full, and soils are sodden from Noosa in the north through to Lismore and the Hunter Valley in the south. It means more flood events are likely in the coming months.
The bureau’s declaration will be unwelcome news to many people – especially those in parts of New South Wales and Queensland still recovering from recent floods. So what else can flood-weary Australians expect in the coming months? And is a fourth La Niña on the cards?