The Bureau of Meteorology has released its Annual Climate Statement today (4 Jan), highlighting a year likely to go down as the third wettest on record, with widespread and severe flooding across northern and eastern Australia.
Last year's weather was dominated by two La Niña events. The first, one of the strongest in recorded history, began in 2010 and continued into the autumn of 2011. The second, weaker event, formed toward the end of winter.
The Spanish term La Niña translates as the ‘girl-child’. The meteorological opposite of El Niño, La Niña is associated with cooling in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean which often plays out in increased rainfall, particularly in the eastern states