Australian tropical cyclone season outlook

The tropical cyclone season has ended.

The next tropical cyclone season outlook is scheduled for release on Tuesday 14 October 2014.

Past Australian tropical cyclone season outlooks

Cyclone impacts

Before a tropical cyclone forms it is difficult to predict its exact strength and path, including whether it will make landfall. Along the east and west coasts fewer than half of the cyclones impact onshore areas, with the majority staying out to sea. Conversely, along the north coast more than half of the cyclones impact the coast. Tropical cyclones which remain out to sea can still cause storm surges, gales and areas of heavy/flooding rainfall over land.

Even after a tropical cyclone has passed, or has decayed below tropical cyclone strength, significant flooding may occur. The impacts of flooding may be more widespread than the area impacted by the cyclones damaging winds. The Bureau's flood warning services are an integral part of the response to tropical cyclones.

During the cyclone season, ensure you are well informed of any warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology and instructions from local Emergency Services authorities.

Diagram of storm tide height

Emergency services agencies

About the outlooks

This outlook is produced using statistical relationships between tropical cyclone numbers and two indicators: the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and the Niño3.4 sea surface temperature index (NINO3.4 SST). These indicators provide a measure of the strength of the atmospheric and oceanic state, respectively.

The July, August and September SOI and NINO3.4 values were used in making the Australian tropical cyclone season outlook.

2013 July August September
SOI +8.1 -0.5 3.9
NINO3.4 SST -0.31°C -0.28°C -0.03°C

The current status of ENSO can be viewed via the Bureau's ENSO Wrap-up. Tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures have been neutral since October 2012. This means that the sea surface temperature patterns in the Pacific are neither La Niña nor El Niño and is therefore not driving the Australian Region toward significantly more or fewer tropical cyclones than average. As such, the forecast is suggesting a season closer to average.

Over the entire Australian Region, this statistical relationship has proven to be highly accurate, or a skilful way to forecast tropical cyclone activity. However, across the various sub Regions this relationship, and thus forecast skill, can vary. Some regions have much higher forecast skill than others. The North-western sub-region has good skill, while the Western and Eastern regions both have low skill and the northern region has very low skill. Regardless of the region or the skill of the statistical model, there is currently nothing in the broad climate drivers to suggest anything but a typical tropical cyclone season for Australia and the sub Regions.

Further information