In a recent in-depth article by The Conversation, a rare natural phenomenon, namely the extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), could be to blame for the severe weather conditions that Australia and other parts of the world are facing.

The article highlights the bush fires that spread through southeast Australia, which was fuelled by dry vegetation caused by the ongoing drought and fanned by hot, windy weather. Yet, on the other side of the Indian Ocean, rainfall and flooding devastated parts of eastern Africa with communities now facing a locust plague and food shortages.

Extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole

According to The Conversation, these intense events can partly be blamed on the extreme positive IOD, a climate phenomenon that unfolded in the second half of 2019. The IOD refers to the difference in sea surface temperature on either side of the Indian Ocean, which alters rainfall patterns in Australia and other nations in the region. The dipole is a lesser-known relative of the Pacific Ocean’s El Niño.

Climate drivers, such as the IOD, are an entirely natural phenomenon, but climate change is modifying the behaviour of these climate modes. To read more about this natural phenomenon and how it is exasperated by human-caused climate change, click here to read the full article. The Conversation