La Niña conditions causing severe rainfall

The weather phenomenon known as La Niña is currently active in the Pacific Ocean at an unusual level, according to the US Climate Prediction Centre.

La Niña is a weather pattern that occurs in the Pacific Ocean. In this pattern, strong winds blow warm water at the ocean’s surface from South America to Indonesia. As the warm water moves west, cold water from the deep rises to the surface near the coast of South America.

The strength of La Niña is important in terms of climate risks because, according to the NOAA, the environmental conditions during this phenomenon can lead to more tropical cyclones—which include hurricanes—forming in the deep tropics (near the islands in the Caribbean, for example).

According to the US Climate Prediction Centre, the sea surface temperature anomaly during the week ending on May 4 was -1.2ºC. This is the lowest weekly value observed by it during May since 2000.

La Niña events typically begin in the Southern Hemisphere’s winter or spring, peak in spring and summer and break down in autumn.

However, this year’s La Niña is remaining unusually well-established into the back end of that hemisphere’s autumn.

As a result, parts of northern and eastern Australia have been experiencing persistent and heavy rain this week. Some areas in Queensland are currently under a severe weather warning for heavy rain and flood watches and warnings have also been issued across the state.

Indeed, experts have also warned that parts of Australia could continue to see above-average cloud cover and rainfall in the coming weeks.

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