One of the most comprehensive studies on trends in local severe weather patterns to date, an international team of researchers found that the frequency of hail storms, thunderstorms and high wind events has decreased by nearly 50 percent on average throughout China since 1960.
While a decrease in severe weather might sound beneficial, it may not always be a good thing.
“There are many natural cycles that rely on severe weather and the precipitation it brings,” said Qinghong Zhang, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, Peking University, lead author of the study, who conducted this research while on sabbatical at Penn State.
“A decrease in storms could potentially lead to an increase in droughts. Also, some theorize that while the frequency of severe weather decreases, their intensity could potentially increase. We cannot say if this is true yet, but it is something we will analyze in the future.”
The Australian weather bureau’s climate outlook for up to May predicts a warming Pacific Ocean will mean rainfall could be well below average.
The forecast for a sticky season comes as parts of Eastern Australia emerge from their hottest summer ever.
This means for our firefighters a longer and dryer period across the region.