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What are the climate drivers that shape Australia’s weather?

Source: Getty Images/JUAN GAERTNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Australia's weather is influenced by many climate drivers. The most important climate drivers in Australia include El Niño and La Niña which have the strongest influence on year-to-year climate variability for most of the country.

El Niño and La Niña events are a natural part of the global climate system.

La Niña is typically associated with higher-than-average rainfall across much of Australia, particularly inland eastern and northern regions, sometimes causing floods.

El Niño is typically associated with reduced rainfall in northern and eastern Australia.

They are part of a natural cycle known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), explains Professor Scott Power, Director of the Centre for Applied Climate Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland.

“The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the term scientists give to a naturally occurring oscillation in the climate system the consists of three different phases. Probably the most famous is “El Niño”, and another one is La Niña, which we're in at the current time. And then there's also a neutral phase when not much is happening.”

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