Australia is staring down the barrel of a horrific summer season that will drag scorching temperatures and extreme conditions well into the new year.
Livio Remano has never seen such extreme conditions in the 20 years he has worked with the Bureau of Meteorology, comparing the long term seasonal outlook to a bad chest X-ray.
“It’s horrible, it’s a horrible map to look at,” he said on Thursday.
“I have never seen this before in my life … the entire country of Australia is covered in deep red.”
That red colour means 70 to 80 per cent of the country is experiencing above-average temperatures, and is being blamed on something called an extremely positive Indian Ocean Diode.
Westerly winds weaken along the equator and push warm water to shift towards Africa during a typical IOD.
The wind changes allow cool water to rise from the depths of the ocean in the east, causing a temperature difference across the tropical Indian Ocean, with unusually cooler water in the east and warmer in the west.
It means atmospheric moisture levels drop in Australia’s northwest, which alters the path of weather systems coming from Australia’s west.
The result is less rainfall and higher than normal temperatures over parts of Australia.
Queensland is moving into its wet season but there is little chance of significant rainfall until January.
But eventually, Mr Remano says the rain will come.
Whatever rain does fall will be isolated and could cause more harm than good with the threat of dry lightning strikes sparking new fires.
“What we need is English rain, but it is not forthcoming – certainly not anytime soon,” he added.