A South Pacific tropical cyclone is a non-frontal, low pressure system that has developed, within an environment of warm sea surface temperatures and little vertical wind shear aloft in the South Pacific Ocean.[1] Within the Southern Hemisphere there are officially three areas where tropical cyclones develop on a regular basis, these areas are the South-West Indian Ocean between Africa and 90°E, the Australian region between 90°E and 160°E and the South Pacific basin between 160°E and 120°W. The South Pacific basin between 160°E and 120°W is officially monitored by the Fiji Meteorological Service and New Zealand's MetService, while others like the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also monitor the basin. Each tropical cyclone year within this basin starts on July 1 and runs throughout the year, encompassing the tropical cyclone season which runs from November 1 and lasts until April 30 each season. Within the basin, most tropical cyclones have their origins within the South Pacific Convergence Zone or within the Northern Australian monsoon trough, both of which form an extensive area of cloudiness and are dominant features of the season. Within this region a tropical disturbance is classified as a tropical cyclone, when it has 10-minute sustained wind speeds of more than 65 km/h (35 mph), that wrap halfway around the low level circulation centre, while a severe tropical cyclone is classified when the maximum 10-minute sustained wind speeds are greater than 120 km/h (75 mph).

Basin history

Tropical cyclones have occurred over the southern Pacific Ocean for thousands of years, with Polynesians and other ancient mariners having some knowledge of them.[2] These mariners were keen observers of nature with their knowledge of these systems, reflected by traditional myths and legends.[2] When Europeans started to settle and colonise the South Pacific, they realised that the region was not free of hurricanes were the first to publish accounts about the systems.[2] During 1853, Thomas Dobson subsequently became the first person to collect information about these systems, in order to attempt to understand and explain the characteristics of 24 tropical cyclones.[2] However, these descriptions were vague and of little value, because he only had a small amount of data and no synoptic weather charts.[2]

Over the next 40 years various reports, journals and logbooks on the storms were published, before E. Knipping consolidated some of these reports and extended Dobson's list out to 120 tropical cyclones during 1893.[2] During the 1920s Stephen Sargent Visher did some research into tropical cyclones in the Pacific and visited several island nations; including Fiji, Japan and the Philippines to obtain information on potential systems.[3] He also consulted various journals and reports as well as Dobson's and Knipping's work, before he authored a number of papers on tropical cyclones in the Pacific.[3] These papers contained information about 259 tropical storms in the South Pacific between 160°E and 140°W, two of which occurred during 1789 and 1819, while the rest occurred between 1830 and 1923.[2] Visher also tried to estimate how many systems were occurring on an annual basis in each area, but overcompensated for his incomplete records and came up with a figure of 12 severe tropical cyclones per year.[2][3]

In the years building up to World War II, Visher's work became the primary source for information about tropical cyclones in the South Pacific. However, there was not enough information available to allow for an accurate depiction of tropical cyclone tracks

During Visher's time and until the start of World War II, there was not enough .[2] However, in the build-up to and during World War II, meteorological operations in the Pacific were greatly expanded, to meet the needs of international aviation and military operations.[2][4] As a result, J W Hutchings decided to write a paper on 43 tropical cyclones between 1940 and 1951, using data that had been collected from the tropics by the New Zealand Meteorological Service in the area between the 150°E and 150°W.[4] In the paper, systems were only included if they had a wind speed on the Beaufort scale of Force 9 or above (corresponding to a medium Category 1 on the Australian cyclone scale), while located between the Equator and 30°S.[4] Hutchings also examined where tropical cyclones originated from in the South Pacific and claimed that the place where most tropical cyclones develop could be accurately determined.[2][4] The paper also drew attention to a marked difference in the tracks of South Pacific tropical cyclones and systems in other basins.[4] This work was subsequently extended in 1956, by the then director of the New Zealand Meteorological Service: John Fletcher Gabites, to cover the seasons between 1952–53 and 1955–56.[5] Gabites subsequently wrote a series of papers during 1963 on various aspects of South Pacific tropical cyclones including on the wide variety of tracks that occur over the Pacific.[2]

At the start of the 1980s, geostationary satellite imagery became available, which allowed meteorologists to closely monitor any developments and lowered the chances of missing a well developed tropical cyclone to nill. During June 1995, the Fiji Meteorological Service's Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre, was designated as a Regional Specialized Meteorological Center by the World Meteorological Organization.

Seasons

1970s

Season Total
TDs
Total
TCs
Total
STCs
Strongest
storm
Deaths Damages Notes and
References
1969–70 7 7 2  3  Dolly and Emma 6 5 million (USD) [6][7][8]
1970–71 8 8 0  2  Lena Unknown Unknown [9]
1971–72 11 11 6  3  Carlotta Unknown Unknown [10]
1972–73 8 8 2  3  Bebe 25 $20 million (USD) [11]
1973–74 10 10 2  4  Pam Unknown Unknown [9]
1974–75 5 5 3  3  Val and Alison Unknown Unknown [10][12][13]
1975–76 6 6 3  3  David Unknown Unknown [9]
1976–77 9 9 2  3  Robert Unknown Unknown [7][8]
1977–78 7 7 3  3  Bob and Charles Unknown Unknown [8]
1978–79 9 6 2  3  Meli Unknown Unknown [14]
1979–80 8 7 2  3  Peni and Sina Unknown Unknown [6][8]

1980s

During the 1980s there were three major Southern Oscillation episodes; two El Niño's (1982–83 and 1986/87) when the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was negative and one La Nina when the SOI was positive.[15]

Season Total
TDs
Total
TCs
Total
STCs
Strongest
storm
Deaths Damages Notes and
References
1980–81 12 12 4  3  Freda [14][15]
1981–82 6 6 5  4  Gyan [16][17]
1982–83 14 14 10  4  Oscar [11][15]
1983–84 7 5 1  3  Beti [12][15]
1984–85 9 9 5  5  Hina [15][16][13][18]
1985–86 7 7 3  4  Ima >150 [17]
1986–87 13 12 6  4  Uma 50 $150 million [10][11][8][15][18]
1987–88 6 5 3  4  Anne [6][15]
1988–89 14 14 6  4  Harry [15]
1989–90 11 5 2  4  Ofa 8 $180 million [15]
Totals 103 94 46 Hina

1990s

Season Total
TDs
Total
TCs
Total
STCs
Strongest
storm
Deaths Damages Retired
names
Notes and
References
1990–91 4 2 1  3  Sina None $18.5 million Sina [14]
1991–92 13 11 7  5  Fran 21 Tia, Wasa, Val, Betsy, Esau, Fran [6]
1992–93 12 10 6  4  Joni and Prema None Joni, Kina, Nina [6][14]
1993–94 7 5 4  4  Theodore None Rewa [9][14]
1994–95 4 2 0  2  William None $2.5 million William [7][19][20]
1995–96 7 5 1  4  Beti 2 $4.3 million Beti [12][13][21]
1996–97 14 12 6  4  Gavin 27 $44 million Drena, Gavin, Hina, Keli [note 1][16]
1997–98 20 16 7  5  Ron and Susan 50 $7.6 million Martin, Osea, Ron, Susan, Tui, Ursula, Veli [11][24]
1998–99 27 8 4  4  Dani Cora, Frank [24][25]
1999–2000 25 6 4  4  Kim 1 Kim [24][26]
Totals 134 79 40 Ron/Susan 101

2000s

During the 2000s, activity was generally below the long term average, with 60 tropical cyclones developing out of 160 tropical disturbances and tropical depressions. However activity during the 2002–03, 2004–05 and 2009–10 seasons all experienced activity, near the long term average of about 8 - 9 tropical cyclones.

Season Total
TDs
Total
TCs
Total
STCs
Strongest
storm
Deaths Damages
(USD)
Retired names Notes and
References
2000–01 16 4 1  4  Paula 7 $800,000 Paula, Sose [10][24]
2001–02 16 5 2  4  Waka 1 $51.3 million Trina, Waka [16][14]
2002–03 18 10 7  5  Zoe 50 $102 million Zoe, Ami, Beni, Cilla [7][24][27]
2003–04 15 3 2  5  Heta 16 $387 million Heta, Ivy [14]
2004–05 18 9 5  5  Percy 2 $55 million Meena, Nancy, Olaf, Percy [6][7][8][24][28]
2005–06 15 5 3  3  Wati None $26,000 None [10][12][29]
2006–07 15 6 2  4  Xavier 4 $4 million Cliff [7][8][24]
2007–08 16 4 3  4  Daman 8 $46 million Daman, Funa, Gene [24][30]
2008–09 15 6 0  2  Lin 11 $65 million None [10][12][13][31]
2009–10 15 8 5  5  Ului 12 $163 million Mick, Oli, Pat, Tomas, Ului [6][8][24]
Totals 159 60 30 Zoe 111 874 million

2010s

Season Total
TDs
Total
TCs
Total
STCs
Strongest
storm
Deaths Damages
(USD)
Retired names Notes and
References
2010–11 17 7 5  4  Wilma 4 $25 million Vania, Wilma, Yasi, Atu [24][32][note 2]
2011–12 20 3 1  4  Jasmine 13 $17.2 million None [12][13][35]
2012–13 22 5 4  4  Sandra 17 $161 million Evan, Freda [12][14]
2013–14 20 6 2  5  Ian 12 $48 million Ian, Lusi [17][12][14][36]
2014–15 16 6 2  5  Pam 16 > $250 million Pam [37]
2015–16 18 8 5  5  Winston 50 $1.41 billion Ula, Winston [note 3][39]
2016–17 22 4 2  5  Donna 3 $5 million Cook, Donna [12][13]
2017–18 14 6 3  5  Gita 11 $285 million Gita, Josie, Keni
2018–19 12 5 2  4  Pola None $50 million Pola
2019–20 12 8 4  5  Harold 5 $132 million Sarai, Tino
Totals 166 53 28 Winston 131 ≥ $2.25 billion

2020s

Season Total
TDs
Total
TCs
Total
STCs
Strongest
storm
Deaths Damages
(USD)
Retired names Notes and
References
2020–21 13 6 3  5  Yasa 7 >$246.7 million Yasa, Ana [13]
2021–22 2 2 1  3  Cody 1
Totals 15 8 4 Yasa 8 >$246.7 million

See also

Notes

  1. ^ During the 1996–97 South Pacific cyclone season, 11 tropical cyclones formed within the FMS's area of responsibility, while one formed within the subtropics and TCWC Wellington's area of responsibility.[16][14][22][23]
  2. ^ Number of tropical cyclones excludes Tropical Cyclone Anthony, which was considered to have weakened into a tropical low before moving into the South Pacific basin by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology during post analysis.[33][34]
  3. ^ Number of tropical disturbances excludes Tropical Cyclone Raquel, which was considered by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to be a Category 1 tropical cyclone within the 2014–15 year.[33][38]

References

  1. ^ RA V Tropical Cyclone Committee (May 5, 2015). List of Tropical Cyclone Names withdrawn from use due to a Cyclone's Negative Impact on one or more countries (PDF) (Tropical Cyclone Operational Plan for the South-East Indian Ocean and the Southern Pacific Ocean 2014). World Meteorological Organization. pp. 2B-1 – 2B-4 (23–26). Archived (PDF) from the original on May 24, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kerr, Ian S (March 1, 1976). "Tropical Storms and Hurricanes in the Southwest Pacific: November 1939 to May 1969" (PDF). pp. 23–28. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 11, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Visher, Stephen Sargent (June 1922). "Tropical Cyclones in Australia and the South Pacific and Indian Oceans" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. 50 (6): 288–295. Bibcode:1922MWRv...50..288V. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1922)50<288:TCIAAT>2.0.CO;2.
  4. ^ a b c d e Hutchings, J.W (April 1953). "Tropical Cyclones in the Southwest Pacific". New Zealand Geographer. 9 (1): 37–57. doi:10.1111/j.1745-7939.1953.tb01823.x.
  5. ^ http://docs.niwa.co.nz/library/public/nzmstic107.pdf
  6. ^ a b c d e f g RSMC Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (October 18, 2012). "2012/13 Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook in the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre Area of Responsibility" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e f RSMC Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (October 15, 2014). "2014/15 Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook in the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre Area of Responsibility" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "2018–19 Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook [in the] Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (RSMC Nadi – TCC) Area of Responsibility (AOR)" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. October 23, 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 22, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Climate Services Division; RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre (October 26, 2010). Tropical Cyclone Guidance for Season 2010/11 for the Fiji and the Southwest Pacific (PDF) (Report). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d e f RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre (October 27, 2011). "2011–12 Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook in the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (RSMC Nadi – TCC) Area of Responsibility (AOR)" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 28, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre (October 22, 2015). "2015–16 Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook in the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (RSMC Nadi – TCC) Area of Responsibility (AOR)" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 22, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i "2017–18 Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook in the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (RSMC Nadi – TCC) Area of Responsibility (AOR)" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. October 11, 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 11, 2017. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "2021/22 Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre Nadi: Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Outlook" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. October 13, 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 13, 2021. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "2019–20 Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook [in the] Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (RSMC Nadi – TCC) Area of Responsibility (AOR)" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. October 11, 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 11, 2019. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Thompson, Craig; Ready, Stephen; Zheng, Xiaogu (1992). Tropical Cyclones in the Southwest Pacific: November 1979 – May 1989 (PDF). New Zealand Meteorological Service, (Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research). ISBN 0-477-07346-8. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  16. ^ a b c d e RSMC Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (October 11, 2013). "2013/14 Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook in the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre Area of Responsibility" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  17. ^ a b c RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre (October 14, 2016). "2016–17 Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook in the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (RSMC Nadi – TCC) Area of Responsibility (AOR)" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 29, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Revell, Cliff G (1987). "The 1986/87 Hurricane Season in the South Pacific" (PDF). Weather and Climate. The Meteorological Society of New Zealand. 7 (2): 4. doi:10.2307/44279737. JSTOR 44279737. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-03.
  19. ^ Shepherd, I.J; Bates, P.W (June 2, 1997). "The South Pacific and Southeast Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Season 1994–95" (PDF). Australian Meteorological Magazine. Australian Bureau of Meteorology (46): 143–151. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  20. ^ Barr, Joe (September 17, 2008). "Event Information: Tropical Cyclone William". Pacific Disaster.Net. Archived from the original on June 2, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  21. ^ Callaghan, Jeff (December 4, 1997). "The South Pacific and Southeast Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Season 1995–96" (PDF). Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal. Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 46: 325–339. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  22. ^ RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre; TCWC Brisbane; TCWC Wellington (May 22, 2009). "RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre Best Track Data for 1996/97 Cyclone Season". Fiji Meteorological Service, Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited, Australian Bureau of Meteorology. United States: International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  23. ^ "Matt Megan's World". The Manawatu Standard. Palmerston North, New Zealand. April 2, 1997. p. 3. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Padgett, Gary (1997–2011). "Monthly Global Tropical Cyclone Summaries". Archived from the original on December 30, 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2012. Alt URL
  25. ^ RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre (1999). RSMC Nadi Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Summary 1998–99 (PDF) (Report). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 1, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  26. ^ RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre (2000). RSMC Nadi Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Summary 1999–2000 (PDF) (Report). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 19, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  27. ^ RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre. "Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Summary 2002–03" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  28. ^ RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre. Tropical Cyclone Summary 2004 — 2005 Season (PDF) (Report). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 16, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  29. ^ RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre. "Tropical Cyclone Season Summary: 2005–2006 Season" (PDF). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 27, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  30. ^ RSMC Nadi — Tropical Cyclone Centre; Fiji Meteorological Service (2008). Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Summary 2007–08 (Report). World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  31. ^ RSMC Nadi – Tropical Cyclone Centre (September 24, 2012). Tropical Cyclone Season Summary 2008–09. Fiji Meteorological Service (Report). World Meteorological Organization's Tropical Cyclone Project. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  32. ^ Climate Services Division (May 11, 2012). Fiji Islands Climate Summary April 2011 Volume 32 Issue 04 (PDF) (Report). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 26, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  33. ^ a b "The Australian Tropical Cyclone Database" (CSV). Australian Bureau of Meteorology. A guide on how to read the database is available here.
  34. ^ Auden, Tony (June 21, 2011). Tropical Cyclone Anthony: January 23 – 31, 2011 (PDF) (Report). Australian Bureau of Meteorology's Brisbane Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  35. ^ Young, Steve (January 14, 2013). "Southern Hemisphere 2011–2012 Tropical Cyclone Season Review". Australian Severe Weather. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  36. ^ Young, Steve (July 24, 2014). "Southern Hemisphere 2013–2014 Tropical Cyclone Season Review". Australian Severe Weather. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  37. ^ Climate Services Division (August 18, 2015). Fiji Annual Climate Summary: 2014 (PDF) (Report). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 26, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  38. ^ Queensland Regional Office (September 2015). Tropical Cyclone Raquel: January 23 – 31, 2011 (Report). Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  39. ^ 2016/17 tropical cyclone season to officially end on April 30 (PDF) (Report). Fiji Meteorological Service. April 27, 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 12, 2017. Retrieved May 3, 2017.