Unexpected twist of El Nino summer

Mosquito sucking blood
Australians are bracing for a brutally hot summer but there is one silver lining to El Nino with numbers of one hated animal to be lower.

An unexpected perk has come out of the El Nino being officially announced, with the hot and dry conditions set to lower mosquito numbers this summer.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) declared on Tuesday that an El Nino climate pattern is currently underway, meaning that Australians are set to be hit by scorching temperatures as summer approaches.

The announcement coincided with an unusual spring heatwave affects Australia’s southeast from Monday to Wednesday, with temperatures soaring to 14 degrees higher than average.

Zika virus aedes aegypti mosquito Dengue fever chikungunya human skin
Australians can thank El Nino for fewer mosquitoes this summer, experts predict.

El Nino largely affects Eastern Australia and brings dry weather as well as warmer than usual temperatures for the southern two-thirds of the country.

Though Australians will not be welcoming the increased bushfire risk, El Nino does have one surprising perk in that it’s expected to bring down the number of mosquitoes in parts of the country according to University of South Australia’s Professor Craig Williams.

“If we look at a national picture, we do tend to see less and the big outbreaks of mosquito borne disease tend to be in the La Nina climate patterns,” he said.

“El Nino means less mosquitoes.”

The smaller number of mosquitoes means that there will be fewer instances of diseases like Murray Valley and Japanese encephalitis.

However, the perk will not be spread evenly across the country, with only inland areas to see mosquito numbers decline.

“Everywhere away from our coast [will see numbers decline], our major river systems like the Murry Darling Basin,” Professor Williams said.

“Those areas will dry and with that drying, you have a reduction in mosquito habitats so you’ll have less mosquitoes being produced, pure and simple.”

Swarm of mosquitoes
Cases of diseases like Murray River virus and Japanese encephalitis are expected to go down.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen in Australia’s big cities, with the mosquito numbers to decline in Bourke or Wagga Wagga rather than Sydney and Brisbane.

“First of all, the cities are by the sea so you’ll have coastal mosquitoes, which will continue to breed and they are not always driven by rainfall but their breeding sites can be from tidal action,” Professor Williams said.

“...there’s also urban mosquitoes that are in the built up areas of the city that will continue to do well.”