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Extreme rainfall recorded in winter as Australia re-enters La Niña: Actuaries Institute

28th October 2022 - Author: Kane Wells

The Actuaries Institute has released a report stating that the Winter 2022 reading of its Australian Actuaries Climate Index (AACI) partly reflected a brief reprieve in the rain-bearing La Niña phase, which is now causing havoc across Eastern Australia again.

australia-floodingThe Index was 0.32 in Winter 2022, compared with 1.10 in Autumn 2022 and 0.40 last Winter. Winter 2022 is the 46th of 47 seasons to show the frequency of extreme weather across Australia, says the report, and as a whole remains elevated above the AACI baseline.

The Actuaries Institute explains that Australia’s weather is significantly influenced by climate cycles of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), and Southern Annular Mode (SAM), which it notes had a significant impact during the Winter quarter.

Rade Musulin, the Chair of the Actuaries Institute Climate Risk Working Group, commented, “After seven consecutive months of the ENSO climate cycle being in a La Niña phase, Australia experienced a brief reprieve in the months of July and August.

“However, Australia re-entered a La Niña phase at the beginning of September, which will likely bring another Spring and Summer of higher-than-average rainfall, especially on the East coast.”

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The AACI report shows North Queensland recorded its second-highest extreme rainfall index value during Winter 2022, while a cold snap in July resulted in falling extreme warm temperature index values in Victoria, Tasmania, and parts of South Australia.

Institute Chief Executive, Elayne Grace, suggests that extreme climate variations are continuing, increasing the urgency on all governments and industries to find workable pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Grace added, “We know that vulnerable Australians are especially exposed to the risks posed by a changing climate. The frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters across the country in recent years highlights the need for collaborative and urgent action to improve resilience.”

Meanwhile, The Insurance Council of Australia recently declared an Insurance Catastrophe for Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales, as the three states suffer from the impacts of severe weather and flooding.

Soon after this, the Australian Federal government announced its new budget, which the Insurance Council suggested began a significant and bold new start to the approach taken by governments to improve community and household resilience to worsening extreme weather.

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