The IRI Australian Tropical Cyclone Activity Experimental Dynamical Forecasts
November 2010 IRI Australian Tropical Cyclone Activity Forecast
There is a slightly enhanced probability (approximately 40%)
that the number of tropical cyclones in the
Australian region (105E to 165E) during the 2008 peak season
(January to March) will be in the above normal category, which is
defined as 9 or more named tropical cyclones. There is also a 35%
probability that the number of named tropical cyclones in this period
will be in the normal category (5 to 8 named tropical cyclones). These
probabilities are slightly greater than the long-term average
probability of 33%. There is a 25% probability that the number of
named tropical cyclones in this period will be in the below normal
category (4 or less named tropical cyclones). This forecast is based
on the IRI sea
surface temperature (SST) forecast with colder than normal SSTs
conditions in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific (La Niña).
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 November 2010 Australian tropical cyclone activity
forecast is consistent with the Tropical Storm Risk November
2010 statistical forecasts of Australian tropical cyclones for the
2010/2011 season (November 2010 to April 2011). The Tropical Storm
Risk forecast called for an above normal number of named tropical
cyclones. It is important to notice that the definition of the
Australian region is slightly different in this forecast.