Australia has certainly experienced a few very warm years with 2013 ranking as the nation’s warmest on record and 2014 going down in the books as the third-warmest year since records commenced. And now, with an El Nino declared for 2015, the months ahead are likely to see these extreme weather conditions continue.
During El Nino, oceanic and atmospheric conditions across the tropical Pacific shift so that less moisture is driven towards the Australian continent. This can result in rain deficits over large areas of the nation and as a result of less cloud cover we also tend to see well above average temperatures.
These warmer-than-average temperatures during El Nino years are typically most evident across southern and eastern Australia, particularly during the second half of the year. In addition, extreme heat tends to be of greater intensity and longevity through these areas of the nation.
For southern locations such as Adelaide and Melbourne, individual daily heat extremes tend to be of greater intensity during El Nino years but there is a reduced frequency of prolonged warm spells. Further north (through QLD and NSW), El Nino is associated with both an increase in individual extreme hot days and multi-day warm spells.
The dry and hot conditions associated with El Nino years can also result in severe bushfire seasons. This year in particular, large autumn rainfall has led to a high amount of vegetation growth through southeastern Australia and has delayed back burning operations. With drier and hotter conditions expected during the second half of 2015, the bushfire risk will be significantly elevated.
These extreme conditions that are often associated with El Nino can have major impacts on business operations from health and safety for mine workers to energy demand and much more. Minutes to months in advance, Weatherzone provides the services to help businesses make intelligent and effective decisions, reducing weather risk and minimizing disruption during the volatile weather conditions.
Weatherzone recently developed a new long range forecast model to help businesses plan out to 12 months in advance. This new long range forecast model has shown notable skill improvements from other models used in Australia with a skill increase of around 5-10% nationwide.
For the shorter range, Weatherzone’s Opticast forecast system provides forecasts that are continuously optimised in real time, and significantly outperforms other models in Australia. Opticast is critical for intra-day rapid-update guidance, and for forward and real-time visualisation of extreme weather conditions.
From short to long range, Weatherzone aims to provide businesses with the tools needed to mitigate risk and maximise profit during even the most gruelling weather scenarios.