Climate Index: The drivers behind the devastation faced by Australia’s east coast

Date28th April 2022

Climate Index - April 2022 update

The latest Australian Actuaries Climate Index, prepared by Finity quantifies the drivers behind devastation faced by the east coast of Australia in Summer 21/22.

The ongoing La Niña event led to increased rainfall, warm ocean temperatures and resulted in significant flooding in QLD and NSW in late February. While scientific attribution studies will be required to properly gauge the contribution of climate change, this is consistent with expectations of enhanced extreme precipitation in a warming world. The weather event resulted in the death of 22 people and an initial estimated $2.5 billion of insurance claims across the two states, including losses which occurred after the end of the season captured by the index. Yet no climate index records were set for the area.

The index captures data over a 3 month period across large geographical areas, reflecting overall climate trends opposed to localised catastrophes. In fact, a record was set for low temperatures in the Murray Basin, indicating warmer minimum temperatures overall.

Lead contributor and Finity Climate leader Rade Musulin reflects on this new finding, “Trends of this nature can impact the propagation of diseases, pests and insects that were previously less likely to survive in lower temperatures, which is interesting to note for Australia’s farming industry and health insurance system. More broadly, the wet season will continue. La Niña has been in effect since November, which played a part in the higher rainfall in the eastern parts of the country and may lead to a continuation of wet weather in autumn, though it is weakening.”

To read the latest update of Summer 21/22, please visit the Australian Actuaries Climate Index here.

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