Early wet the hot tip

Headshot of Elise Van Aken
Elise Van AkenThe Kimberley Echo
Patrick Karena captured the Kimberley version of a sky show in Halls Creek on New Year's Eve.
Camera IconPatrick Karena captured the Kimberley version of a sky show in Halls Creek on New Year's Eve. Credit: Patrick Karena

La Nina winds are expected to bring the wet season to the Kimberley early this year.

The chance of the first rains for northern Australia arriving early in 2020-21 is much higher than average over much of inland northern Australia with the highest likelihood across central and some coastal parts of Queensland, and the south of the Northern Territory.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest Northern Rainfall Onset report anticipated a roughly equal chance of an early or late rainfall onset for most coastal areas, the far north, and west.

La Nina is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the colder counterpart of El Nino, part of the broader El Nino–Southern Oscillation climate pattern, which affected the region’s rainfall last year.

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La Nina occurs when equatorial trade winds become stronger, changing ocean surface currents and drawing up cooler deep water.

This results in a cooling of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and warming of ocean temperatures in the western Pacific, meaning the area becomes more favourable for rising air, cloud development and rainfall.

As a result, heavy rainfall can occur in the north of Australia.

The Northern Rainfall Onset outlook gives an indication of whether the first significant rains after September 1 are likely to be earlier or later than normal, while the onset date occurs when the rainfall total reaches 50mm since the September 1.

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