News

Scientists predict big wet and floods in 2016

SCIENTISTS have forecast a "huge La Nina" to bring floods to the east coast of Australia starting in June next year following two years of hot and dry conditions.

CSIRO principal research scientist Wenju Cai has predicted a La Nina, but hopes it won't happen.

The basis of the forecast comes from modelling that shows when there is one bad El Nino or two in a row, as we have experienced, it is followed by floods.

>> Mt Larcom gauge has been recording rainfall since 1908

"In 2009-10 there were two years of El Nino and that was followed by a huge La Nina that caused flooding in China, where 250 million people were displaced, and the flooding in Brisbane," he said.

"The other ones you may recall are 1972-73 and a flood in Brisbane in 1974; 1998-99 were the same and 2000 was another huge La Nina."

The floods are a result of "how much heat is taking water out of the ocean and that determines how much water is close to the surface".

UNDERWATER: Not only were parts of Monto Rd flooded but sections of rail were also cut off by water.
UNDERWATER: Not only were parts of Monto Rd flooded but sections of rail were also cut off by water. Contributed

During El Nino the weather is on average 0.1-0.2 degrees hotter, which results in the cycle changing to La Nina.

Dr Cai and other climatologists published their research in the Nature Climate Change journal predicting the frequency of these events would change from one every 20 years to one in 10 years.

"One of the purposes of showing our results to the public is to alert people to collectively do something to change the course," he said.

"Each time we have huge droughts and floods we have huge damage to our economy and social fabric. I hope that I am wrong."

Topics:  big wet csiro floods forecast la nina weather



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