While Australia has been feeling the effects of climate change, this years La Niña has been particularly savage, with ferocious cyclone activity in northern Queensland and massive flooding across Brisbane, greater Melbourne and country Victoria.
The effects can be better appreciated when you look at a satellite image of one of the inner Melbourne parks where we train.
You can really see the difference in the health of its vegetation and lawns from January 2010 to January 2011. Usually you’d expect the parks to be a little dryer, with large sections of brown grass, however given the amount of rain we’ve had over the summer the lawns are looking lush and green.
In the five years that I’ve been running boot camps at Edinburgh garden in North Fitzroy I have never seen it so green over the summer period. In fact, two years ago the winter was so dry it created large areas of exposed soil.
A number of senior meteorologist have noted that Melbourne’s recent climatic conditions are more akin to tropical north eastern Australia with high levels of humidity and torrential downfalls. A storm front will dump heavy rainfall over a 20 to 60 minute period as opposed to the more spasmodic rainfall patterns of very short periods of light rain.
In maintaining its reputation for four seasons in one day, Melbourne’s rainfall patterns are keeping everyone guessing. It’ll be interesting to see whether long-range forecasts that indicate Australia will return to drought conditions for a 7 -10 year period are right. The global phenomenon with whether patterns seems to be longer droughts and more intense, longer periods of rainfall.