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After three years, La Niña’s demise may not mean relief from devastating floods

After three years, La Niña is over and finally Queensland can dry out. We can all look forward to the end of devastating floods that have cost billions and destroyed lives. Yes?

Feb 28, 2023, updated Feb 28, 2023
The threat of floods in  Queensland is not over, according to Floodmapp
 (AAP Image/Darren England)

The threat of floods in Queensland is not over, according to Floodmapp (AAP Image/Darren England)

Not so, according to the innovative Brisbane company Floodmapp, which used the one-year anniversary of the south-east Queensland floods to issue a warning.

It took a look at gauges across Queensland and NSW to get a handle on the number of flood events that exceeded moderate levels.

“Some of the largest events on record and clusters of events fell during La Niña phases, however there were still a significant number of events which occurred outside of La Niña phases,” Floodmapp said.

It pointed to three floods in Ipswich in 2009, 2013 and 2017. All occurred during neutral or climate phases that were shifting towards El Niño, which usually means dryer than normal weather.

“The same is true for Warwick and the 35 other gauges we selected at random across Queensland and NSW,” the company said.

“What does it mean? Simply the need to be prepared, act and respond doesn’t change with the climate phase we are in.”

The Bureau of Meteorology’s models showed the east coast was moving towards neutral or possibly El Nino status.

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“La Niña continues in the tropical Pacific Ocean. While oceanic indicators, including sea surface temperatures (SSTs), have weakened to ENSO-neutral values, the atmosphere has been slower to respond and remains La Niña-like. Even as La Niña weakens, it can continue to influence global weather and climate,” BOM said.

“All models anticipate SSTs in the central Pacific Ocean will warm further, but remain at neutral levels (neither La Niña nor El Niño) until at least mid-autumn.”

 

 

 

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