I’m not afraid of La Nina

So, she’s on her way back, is she? La Nina wreaked havoc across Australia last season and forecasts predicting her return this summer have hit the headlines. But I’m not scared of her. In my region, La Nina is no grand dame.

In fact, the Bureau of Meteorology’s analysis of 12 La Nina years shows average rainfall in our region of south-east Victoria.

I had no idea this was the case until I subscribed to the fascinating and very informative Victorian DPI program, Milking the Weather. A more realistic seasonal outlook means we need to look at a whole series of climate drivers that Milking the Weather nicknames “Climate Dogs”. In their September newsletter, the DPI’s Bree Walsh and Zita Ritchie say:

“It is easy to look to the sky, irrigation dams and soil moisture levels and think the good old days of plenty of rain have returned. However, based on history an average outlook could mean rainfall could go either way, as rainfall events rely on a good moisture feed from the Pacific and/or Indian oceans.”

With this in mind, the smart money is not on building an ark or buying in vast quantities of fodder just yet. As Bree and Zita conclude:

“In summary, 2011 looks unlikely to mimic 2010, taking into account the current climatic indicators and model predictions. When comparing the seasonal outlook from year to year, it is important to keep risk in the back of you mind. Many factors affect our weather, with each region having their own specific risks which need to be considered in the context of the broader model forecasts. Managing climatic risk is complex, one of the hardest management decisions is around how all of these outlooks come together and affect your farm.”

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