News

Odds favour ‘near average’ tropical cyclone season

Beef Central, 16/10/2012

Northern Australia can expect near average tropical cyclone activity this season, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest seasonal outlook.

The typical Australian cyclone season runs between November 1 and April 30 and produces 11 tropical cyclones on average.

The bureau’s 2012-13 outlook indicates a 37pc chance that the Australian region will have more tropical cyclones than average this year, or, put another way, a 63pc chance it will experience fewer cyclones than average.

The forecast takes into account conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which are currently neutral, and not exceeding La Nina or El Nino thresholds. Historically, neutral conditions have favoured an average to below average number of tropical cyclones in the regions around Australia.

The bureau says past outlooks have shown that the Australian region outlook has high skill.

Region by region, the Bureau has provided the following summary:

• The Western region experiences, on average, around seven tropical cyclones in the eastern Indian Ocean during the tropical cyclone season. This year's forecast indicates near to slightly below average tropical cyclone activity with a 43 per cent chance of above (57 per cent chance of below) average cyclone activity. In the past, the skill level for forecasts in the Western region has been low. On average, around 30 per cent of tropical cyclones in the western region will have an impact on the coast at some stage in their life.

• The North-western sub-region (the area from 105°E to 130°E, where tropical cyclones can impact upon coastal Western Australian communities) has decreased odds (42 per cent) of an above average (58 per cent chance below average) tropical cyclone season. Typically, five cyclones form or pass through this area each season and around 40 per cent of tropical cyclones in the north-western sub-region will have an impact on the coast at some stage in their life. Model skill in this region is moderate.

• The Northern region does not have tendency towards above or below average tropical cyclone activity this season, and the skill level for this outlook is very low. In an average year the northern region sees two or three named storms and one or two tropical low pressure systems that become cyclones after moving into the western or eastern regions. A relatively high number (75 per cent) of tropical cyclones in the northern region impact the coast at some stage in their life.

• The Eastern region forecast indicates a 43 per cent chance that an above average (57 per cent chance of below average) number of tropical cyclones will form in the region, with a high confidence level based upon historical skill. Around 25 per cent of the tropical cyclones in the eastern region cross the coast, with fewest crossings in El Niño years.

To view information on preparation and safety procedures to survive cyclones click here
 

Click on image below to view map showing the chances of exceeding average tropical cyclone numbers in the 2012–2013 season.

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