New reports suggest that Australia could be in for a long and difficult summer.
According to news.com.au, three different climactic influences will combine to create very dangerous summer weather conditions that could lead to an increase in bushfires.
The weather systems in question are the Indian Ocean Dipole, the Southern Annular Mode and the lack of La Nina. Together they have brought an end to the rain that parts of Australia had been experiencing.
There have been a number of bushfires in New South Wales already this year due to hotter and drier conditions.
“The reason for all of that heat is a really warm air mass over us at the moment and north westerly winds bringing heat from central parts of Australia,” the Bureau of Meteorology’s Rebecca Kamitakahara told news.com.au.
“These dry gusty north westerlies through the mid-north coast and Hunter have been helping to fan the fires,” she said.
In September the Bushfires and Natural Hazards CRC released its outlook for the 2016 bushfire season. It indicated that New South Wales and Victoria, plus parts of Queensland and Western Australia were the most vulnerable to potential bushfires.
And weather experts are predicting tough weather conditions this summer.
“The outlook suggests that inland NSW and inland Victoria, in particular, are facing a potentially severe bushfire season,” Jim Casey from the Firefighters Climate Alliance told news.com.au.
“A warmer and wetter winter than usual has led to an increase in fuel load that will be potentially hazardous when the hot summer, which we are expecting, is upon us.
“If you’ve got enough grass, you’ve got a big fire,” he said.
“What is really very clear is that the conditions for a catastrophic fire is in place and we expect these conditions to continue in a warmer climate. It becomes not a question of if but a question of when we will be seeing devastating bushfires.”
Image: Bushfire And National Hazards CRC