Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Southwest Pacific Tropical Cyclone Outlook

Southwest Pacific Tropical Cyclone Outlook

Near average tropical cyclone numbers for the region is likely, with increased activity in the late season.

Meteorological forecasting centres across the Southwest Pacific are predicting near average numbers of tropical cyclones for the 2013–14 season (November 2013 to April 2014).

On average, 10 named tropical cyclones occur in the Southwest Pacific {between 135°E (mid-Gulf of Carpentaria) and 120°W (French Polynesia)} each season (November to April).

The outlook indicates that eight to 12 named cyclones are expected for the coming season.

Tropical cyclone (TC) activity between Vanuatu and New Caledonia as well as east of the International Date Line is expected to be normal or below normal over the whole of the season. Normal or slightly above normal activity is expected for countries close to the International Date Line and near the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Most countries west of the International Date Line, including Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji are likely to experience close to normal activity because of ENSO-neutral conditions.

It should be recognised that increased activity in general is expected as the TC season progresses. Note that the forecast of normal activity for islands like New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga indicates two or more cyclones could interact with each of those countries during the season.

At least one or more severe tropical cyclones (Category 3 or higher*) could occur anywhere across the Southwest Pacific during the season. All communities should remain vigilant and follow forecast information provided by their national meteorological service.

On average, New Zealand experiences at least one ex-tropical cyclone passing within 550km of the country every year. For the coming TC season, the risk for New Zealand is slightly higher than normal. If an ex-tropical cyclone comes close to the country, it has a higher probability of passing east rather than west of Auckland city.

Outlook analysis

ENSO neutral conditions are indicated by sea surface temperature anomalies across the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean, and the atmospheric circulation patterns over French Polynesia and northern Australia.

The expectation is that near normal tropical cyclone (TC) activity is likely for most islands in the Southwest Pacific during the 2013–2014 season. TC activity is expected to be near average with eight to 12 named TCs over the November 2013–April 2014 period for the Southwest Pacific.

On average,10 tropical cyclones occur each year for the Southwest Pacific region. Southwest Pacific TCs are grouped into classes ranging from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most dangerous.

For the coming TC season, at least four storms are predicted to reach at least Category 3, with mean wind speeds of at least 64 knots or 118 km/h (so-called "hurricane force" winds). Of those systems, three storms may reach at least Category 4 strength, with mean wind speeds of at least 86 knots or 159 km/h.

While Category 5 strength TCs have not been prominent for ENSO neutral seasons like the current one, this type of event is still possible. All communities should remain alert and prepared for such an event.

Tropical cyclones significantly impact the Southwest Pacific each year. Countries like Vanuatu and New Caledonia typically experience the greatest activity, with an average of about two or three TCs passing close to land there each year.

The forecast for this season indicates near normal or slightly reduced tropical cyclone activity for the 2013–14 season for many islands east of the International Date Line and also for the region between Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Near normal TC activity is expected for countries situated close to the International Date Line including Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, while slightly elevated activity is expected for Niue and New Zealand.

On average, New Zealand usually experiences at least one interaction per season with an ex-tropical cyclone during ENSO neutral conditions.

Most of the analog seasons identified for this forecast (1978/79; 1979/80; 1980/81; 1981/82; 1990/91; 1996/97; 2001/02) show an ex-tropical cyclone coming close (within 550km) to the country. Significant wind, waves and rainfall are possible from these systems. Their effects can be spread over a larger area when the ex-tropical cyclone meets a higher latitude high pressure system.

Even though TC activity is expected to be near normal or below normal for some countries, historical cyclone tracks (see supporting information for this forecast, Figure 2) indicate that TCs can affect parts of French Polynesia (including the Society Islands and the Austral Islands) and the Southern Cook Islands, especially late in the TC season.

As with the majority of other years, the late TC season (February–April) is expected to be the most active time in the Southwest Pacific.

All Pacific Islands should remain vigilant in case conditions in the equatorial Pacific change during the tropical cyclone season. Past ENSO neutral seasons have seen tropical cyclone tracks with increased sinuosity (irregular or looping motions rather than have a curvilinear trajectory), which means they have potential to impact a large area.

Nealand’s National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and Meteorological Service of New Zealand (MetService) along with meteorological forecasting organisations from the Southwest Pacific, including the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and the Pacific Island National Meteorological Services have prepared this tropical cyclone outlook.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Sweet Health: Sugary Drinks Banned From Hospitals And Health Boards

All hospitals and DHBs are expected to kick sugary drinks out of their premises. University of Auckland researcher, Dr Gerhard Sundborn who also heads public health advocacy group “FIZZ”, says he welcomes the initiative. More>>


NASA: Evidence Of Liquid Water On Today's Mars

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. More>>


Bird Brains: Robins Can Just Be Generally Clever

Research from Victoria University of Wellington has revealed that birds may possess a ‘general intelligence’ similar to humans, with some individuals able to excel in multiple cognitive tests. More>>


Psa-V: Positive Result On Whangarei Kiwifruit Orchard

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has received a Psa-V positive test result on Hort16A and male vines on a kiwifruit orchard in Whangarei. This is the first confirmed case of Psa-V on an orchard in the Whangarei region. More>>

Regional Accents: Are Microbes The Key To Geographical Differences In Wine?

A new study of six of New Zealand’s major wine-growing regions has found that differences in flavour and aroma of wine from different areas may depend more on microbes than was previously thought. More>>


Science: AgResearch To Cut Science Staff In Areas Of 'Reduced Demand'

“We are therefore consulting with our staff from today on a proposal to reduce science staff in areas of shrinking demand. Combined with recruitment planned in areas of growing demand, this would mean a net reduction of 15 scientists and 41 technicians at AgResearch in the 2015/16 year." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news