The IRI Australian Tropical Cyclone Activity Experimental Dynamical Forecasts
December 2009 IRI Australian Tropical Cyclone Activity Forecast
The forecast of the number of tropical cyclones in the Australian region (105E to 165E)
during the 2010 peak season (January to March) has a 40% probability
for being in the below-normal category (4 or less named tropical
cyclones). There is also a 35% probability for the TC activity to be in the normal cateogory (5 to 8 named tropical cyclones). These probabilities are higher than the long-term average
probability of 33%. The probability for the above-normal category (9 or more named
tropical cyclones) is 25%. This forecast is based on the IRI sea surface
temperature (SST) forecast with above-normal SSTs conditions in
the eastern equatorial Pacific (El Niño event).
The mean number of observed Autralian named tropical cyclones (1971 - 2002) in the peak season (January to March) is 7.1 with a standard deviation of 3.2. The near normal category is between 5 and 8 named tropical storms in the January-March peak season. The lowest number of tropical cyclones in the peak season during this historical period was 1 and the maximum was 13.
This outlook was produced by tracking Australian tropical cyclone-like systems in one of our operational atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs), ECHAM4.5, forced with IRI's predicted sea surface temperatures. AGCMs are not adequate for forecasts of individual tropical cyclones. However, they can have significant skill in predicting the amount of tropical cyclone activity over specific basins, as is the case for the ECHAM4.5 over the Australian region. Due to the low-resolution (approximately 2.8 degrees longitude and latitude) model tropical cyclones are weaker and larger than observed tropical cyclones, but have an identifiable signature with many observed tropical cyclone characteristics. The model skill is due to the variability of the tropical cyclone activity being mainly determined by large-scale variables that affect that activity, such as sea surface temperatures and vertical wind shear, which can be predicted using AGCMs. The seasonal distribution of these model tropical cyclones in the Australian region is similar to that of observed tropical cyclones in the region. The amount of tropical cyclone activity of both model and observations in the Australian region is strongly influenced by ENSO.
The IRI December 2009 Australian tropical cyclone activity
forecast agrees with the Tropical Storm Risk December
2009 statistical forecasts of Australian tropical cyclones for the
2009/2010 season (November 2009 to April 2010). The Tropical Storm
Risk forecast called for a 30% probability for a below-normal number
of named tropical cyclones. The Australian Bureau
of Meteorology outlook for tropical cyclones (October 2009) is
also for a below-normal tropical cyclone activity for the Australian
region. It is important to notice that the definition of the
Australian region is slightly different in these forecasts.