Rare Event with Australian Fires Unlikely to Reoccur
New research from collaboration between U of U ATMOS professor Thomas Reicher and Martin Jucker of ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes in Australia expounds on a rare event that strengthened the 2019 Australian wildfires and discusses its chances of happening again. An anomalous event called a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) occurred in the Southern Hemisphere in Spring 2019 and led to extreme heat and very dry conditions that contributed to the historic wildfires in Australia that year. SSW's occur in the Northern Hemisphere more frequently, but are very rare for the Southern Hemisphere and have only been recorded a handful of times since regular weather and climate observations started.
Part of the research showed that these Southern Hemisphere SSW's are even less likely to occur in a warming climate, such as the one we have now. This probability was shown through running high performance models of the stratosphere.