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A miracle? CO2 at record highs but Australia’s risk of Megafire Summer reduced

Global carbon dioxide levels hit record highs in 2020. But through incredible luck, or perhaps a Pacific La Niña event, Australia is now less likely to get massive bushfires this summer.

Looks like carbon dioxide will now cause more floods and cyclones, not fires and droughts.

It’s just physics, you know.

La Niña set to bring cooler weather, more rain and cyclones to Australia

Lisa Cox, The Guardian

The last La Niña occurred from 2010-2012 and brought widespread flooding and record rainfall. The Bom said its modelling currently suggested the latest event would be strong but would not reach the same intensity.

[Andrew] Watkins said La Niña would likely bring increased rainfall in both northern and eastern Australia and increased risk of flooding. It also raises the chance of increased cyclone activity during the tropical cyclone season, with a typical season being nine to 11 cyclones.

He said an active La Niña would also reduce the bushfire risk this season slightly, but would not eliminate it.

Dr Joelle Griggs, a climate scientist at Australian National University, reminds us that even in La Niña years sometimes early rain produces bulk grass which, if things dry out, can still feed a good inferno (like Black Saturday in 2009 and Black Friday in 1939). But despite then hinting that “hottest ever La Niña’s” might still cause bushfires, she understands what matters:

The horror bushfires of last summer have already burnt a lot of fuel which should shield them.

“It’s the areas spared during our Black Summer that we need to worry about,” said Dr Griggs.

With uncanny accuracy that no global GCM’s can manage, even a climate scientist knows which exact regions are at risk of turning into incendiary events. But only because it has nothing to do with CO2.

Spin the wheel

What effect will CO2 have in Australia. In blue years of the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) CO2 causes floods. In red years, droughts and fires. Adjust your press releases accordingly.


Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: September – November 2020 (August 31)

SOI: https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/southern-oscillation-indices-signal-noise-and-tahitidarwin-slp-soi


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