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Climate change is likely driving a drier southern Australia – so why are we having such a wet year?


As the climate changes, southern Australia is likely to keep getting drier on average, particularly in the southwest.

However, this year has been wet. And yesterday the Bureau of Meteorology announced we are now in another La Niña event. This common large-scale climate pattern lasts for months, and will increase the odds of further wet weather across the country.

So despite the long-term trend towards drier conditions, we find ourselves in a wetter-than-usual period. What gives? Current climate change assessments

Rainfall has been declining in much of southern Australia in recent decades (see below). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment report – which draws on the latest climate research – found the recent drying trend in southern Australia is likely to continue, particularly during the cool season.

Cool-season rainfall in southwest Western Australia has already decreased, and ongoing drying in this area is assessed to be very likely . There’s strong evidence this trend contains a “signal” of climate change, otherwise known as a climate change “fingerprint”.

We understand the drying has been driven by changes in dominant weather patterns. And future projections of drying in the southwest are among the strongest in the world.The situation in the southeast of Australia […]

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