Cyclones could come thick and fast this season

Climate scientists have developed a new cyclone outlook, predicting Australia's east coast could experience more of the tropical storms this year.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast a 94 per cent chance La Nina conditions will develop before the start of the tropical cyclone season.

The new outlook shows there is a 55 per cent chance of more than four cyclones developing off the east coast of Australia this season.

Historically La Nina conditions have resulted in double the number of tropical cyclones to make landfall in Australia. About 10 cyclones occur in the Australian region every season with about four making landfall.The new outlook model developed by climate scientist Dr Andrew Magee from the Centre of Water, Climate and Land at the University of Newcastle, has forecast 11 tropical cyclones for Australia with an emerging La Nina and warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern Indian Ocean.

Dr McGee explained the outlook forecast a range of between three to six cyclones forming off Australia's east coast this season.

"The expected count this season is four. There is a 55 per cent chance of four or more forming for the eastern region," he said.

"The eastern region sees about three cyclones a year.

"Not all of those events will make landfall but it doesn't take a landfalling event to make an impact."

Image of Cyclone Yasi. Picture: US NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION.
Image of Cyclone Yasi. Picture: US NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION.

Dr McGee explained the outlook could not detail how severe the expected cyclones could be, as it only looked at cyclone frequency.

He warned the Long-Range Tropical Cyclone Outlook for Australia should not replace the official advice provided by the Bureau of Meteorology.

"The new Long-Range Tropical Cyclone Outlook for Australia provides an additional tool to understand tropical cyclone risk for the upcoming tropical cyclone season," he said.

The tropical cyclone season runs from November to April.

In a Conversation article authored by Dr Magee and University of Newcastle Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, they explained that during La Nina events the first tropical cyclone to make landfall tended to occur earlier in the season.

The Long-Range Tropical Cyclone Outlook can be viewed at tcoutlook.com.

Originally published as Cyclones could come thick and fast this season


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