Summary: Northern Australia is facing a hotter and drier wet season due to a combination of climatic factors, including El Niño and a negative Indian Ocean Dipole. This could lead to a later start to the wet season and lower rainfall than usual. Residents are concerned about the impact on agriculture and water supply, although Lake Argyle, the region’s largest human-made storage dam, remains at over 92% capacity. Despite predictions of fewer cyclones, experts warn against complacency.
As the temperatures consistently climb above 40 degrees in Fitzroy Crossing, the north of Australia is preparing for a hotter and drier wet season than average. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasts a later start to the wet season and lower rainfall due to a combination of climatic factors, including El Niño and a negative Indian Ocean Dipole. This drying effect could shift the usual thunderstorm activity into mid to late November. The prediction of lower rainfall is a cause for concern for farmers like Chris Townes, who has seen a significant portion of his land burnt by bushfires. The lack of early storms and wet season rain is making it challenging for cattle farmers to find enough grass for their livestock. Despite the expected lower rainfall, the situation is variable, with some areas still likely to receive average or above-average rainfall. The Madden Julien Oscillation, which is linked to monsoonal rains, is currently indiscernible, further adding to the uncertainty of the wet season. However, Lake Argyle, mainland Australia’s largest human-made storage dam, remains at over 92% capacity, providing some assurance for water supply. While El Niño conditions typically lead to fewer cyclones, experts warn against complacency. Although there is a higher chance of below-average cyclone numbers, it only takes one cyclone or tropical low to cause damage or bring rainfall to the region.
Tags: Northern Australia, wet season, El Niño, Indian Ocean Dipole, rainfall, Lake Argyle, cyclones, Bureau of Meteorology, climate patterns, agriculture