La Niña…a phrase that probably doesn’t mean a lot to you, unless you are a weather boffin.

However, to those who live in Eastern Australia, La Niña means wet weather, even floods. The terms El Niño and La Niña very basically relate to the temperature of the water that flows up the western South American coast and then along the equator towards Asia(see image below).

La Niña Weather Event

In the image above, a La Niña event is marked by the blue ‘plume’ of water heading towards Indonesia from South America. The opposite, El Niño, would be almost identical, except that the blue would be orange..indicating warmer than average temperatures in the ocean.

Who Cares?

Many would say that the recently declared La Niña event is nothing to do with them. But is that true?

Whilst what happens in Australia may seem a world away from London, the reality is that what happens thousands of miles away will affect us in London. So, what should we expect?

What La Niña Means For London

So, how does the blue plume of water in the Pacific affect London?

Have a closer look at the map. Notice that the water around the UK is orange. That means that ocean temperatures are expected to be warmer than normal..a good thing right? Well, maybe.

However, the thing about warmer water is that it holds more moisture. Take for instance, rain in tropical regions where the oceans are much warmer. There, rain comes down in buckets! Not the heavy drizzle that often greets us in the UK.

Because the air holds more moisture(because of the warmer waters), the rains can be heavier. So, to oversimplify it, the warmer than expected ocean temperatures in the UK mean that our rain will be more like the amount of rain that warmer climates would get. So, all in all, the weather this winter should be wetter than normal. Notice what the BBC said about this:

In the UK and Northern Europe, a very strong La Niña event may also lead to a very wet winter.

So, the latest warnings issued by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology don’t mean that London will get 40cm of rain in one month, as Sydney received last March. However, the winter may be wetter..with less sunshine. The good bit is that if the oceans are warmer than normal, hopefully the temperatures will be too!

Author: Londonlad

Leave a Reply