Saturday, February 24, 2024

El Nino Weather: Australia Records Driest October Since 2002

Australia recorded the driest October in more than 20 years due to an El Nino weather pattern which has seen hot, dry conditions hit crop yields in one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, the national weather bureau said on Wednesday.

In its regular drought report, the Bureau of Meteorology said last month was Australia’s driest October since 2002, with rainfall 65% below the 1961–1990 average.

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It said every part of Australia except the state of Victoria had below-average rainfall and Western Australia state — by far the biggest grain-exporting region — saw its driest October on record.

After three years of plentiful rain, the El Nino weather phenomenon has brought hot and dry weather to Australia, with September the driest since records began in 1900.

Rain in some parts of the country in early October halted a rapid decline in projected crop yields but the country’s wheat harvest is still expected to fall by around 35% this year to some 26 million tons.

Its long range forecast predicts below-median rainfall through to at least January in northern, western and southern Australia.

El Niño Weather

El Niño is a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

El Niño is the “warm phase” of a larger phenomenon called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

La Niña, the “cool phase” of ENSO, is a pattern that describes the unusual cooling of the region’s surface waters.

El Niño and La Niña are considered the ocean part of ENSO, while the Southern Oscillation is its atmospheric changes.

El Niño has an impact on ocean temperatures, the speed and strength of ocean currents, the health of coastal fisheries, and local weather from Australia to South America and beyond.

El Niño events occur irregularly at two- to seven-year intervals. However, El Niño is not a regular cycle, or predictable in the sense that ocean tides are.

El Niño was recognized by fishers off the coast of Peru as the appearance of unusually warm water.

We have no real record of what indigenous Peruvians called the phenomenon, but Spanish immigrants called it El Niño, meaning “the little boy” in Spanish. When capitalized, El Niño means the Christ Child, and was used because the phenomenon often arrived around Christmas.

El Niño soon came to describe irregular and intense climate changes rather than just the warming of coastal surface waters.

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