The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has reported that the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has reached a negative phase, which should bring an increased level of rainfall. However, the IOD should level off in the near future, and it’s unlikely that it will reach La Niña conditions this year.
Stronger Negative IOD this September
After a mostly neutral IOD during August, the dipole has become more negative this month. This means that the eastern Indian Ocean is warmer, bringing more rainfall over Australia from the east. This week in particular, the IOD index is close to reaching record values. Residents of eastern Australia should expect to see higher than average rainfall this spring.
A Return to Neutral
Despite the currently negative index, the Bureau of Meteorology does not believe that negative IOD conditions will last. Over the next few months, their models suggest that the IOD will weaken, returning to a more neutral state. This should mean that precipitation will level off. However, it’s likely that this return to neutral will take a few months, likely until the end of 2016, so stay prepared for more rain until then.
La Niña Watch
With a negative IOD index, some La Niña-like conditions are present. This includes higher than average rainfall in eastern and northern Australia and an early start to the wet season. Despite these conditions, the Bureau believes that the IOD index will not meet La Niña thresholds this year. However, they are maintaining a La Niña WATCH. If a full La Niña does hit, Australia will see prolonged above-average rainfall, as well as an increased risk of cyclones. You can keep an eye on the Bureau of Meteorology website for their latest updates on La Niña status and forecasts.
Preparing for the Wet Season
Increased rainfall is good news for those of us who have been waiting for water for plants, crops, household use, or simply playing in the rain (thinking of all the young puddle jumping fans out there). As we’re likely to see increased rainfall over the next few months, keep the weather in mind while making plans. You may want to have indoor back-up plans for big events, and keep an eye on the latest forecast. You can also take advantage of all the rainfall by making sure your water tank is out and ready for collection. Heavy rainfall presents a great opportunity to save up plenty of water, which can prepare you for future droughts and keep your household’s water bills down. If you don’t already have a water tank, you can search for a local water tank manufacturer on the Alkatuff website. It’s a good idea to set up a tank before we get too far into spring so that you can maximize your water collection.