Tropical Climate Update

Tropical cyclone activity in Australian region

Tropical cyclone Tiffany was named on Sunday, 9 January 2022. Tiffany is the fourth tropical cyclone observed in the Australian region in the 2021–22 season. After making landfall on the Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, during Monday 10 January, Tiffany weakened to below tropical cyclone intensity as it moved further westwards over land. On Tuesday morning, ex-TC Tiffany moved over the waters of the eastern Gulf of Carpentaria, where it is expected to re-intensify. Based on current forecasts, Tiffany is likely to cross the eastern Top End coast of the Northern Territory (NT) during Wednesday 12 January as a category 2 storm, before weakening into a rain-bearing depression over the northern NT.

Another tropical cyclone also recently developed in the Coral Sea, close to Fiji. Tropical cyclone Cody was named by the Fiji Meteorological Service on the morning of Monday, 10 January, forming to the south of the main Fijian island of Viti Levu. Based on the current forecast track, Cody will move further south over open waters and is not expected to directly impact any populated land masses.

Read about warning advice and information for Australian tropical cyclones and South-west Pacific Ocean tropical cyclones

Madden–Julian Oscillation expected to weaken

A moderate to strong pulse of the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) moved generally eastwards across the western Pacific region in the past fortnight. This pulse is forecast to weaken, with some climate models predicting it will become indiscernible in the coming week. In addition to the MJO, equatorial Rossby (ER) wave activity appears to have contributed to tropical weather patterns around northern Australia and over the South-west Pacific region in the past week, assisting the formation of tropical cyclones Tiffany and Cody.

While the influence of the MJO is likely to diminish, the ER wave may lead to further enhanced weather across the South-west Pacific in the coming fortnight. The ER wave is not expected to significantly influence northern Australia's weather patterns in the coming fortnight. However, if the MJO remains discernible and continues tracking east towards the tropical Americas, it would typically increase the likelihood of drier than average conditions developing over tropical Australia.

Read more about the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO)

La Niña-like rainfall pattern forecast for northern Australia

Atmospheric and oceanic indicators of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) show La Niña continues in the Pacific Ocean, with climate models suggesting La Niña will persist until early in the southern hemisphere autumn. Along with above-average water temperatures around Australia, this climate state increases the likelihood of wetter than usual conditions for much of the Australian tropics.

Rainfall outlooks from the Bureau continue to depict a signal that broadly resembles a typical La Niña rainfall pattern, with moderate to high chances of above-median rainfall across much of eastern Australia and parts of northern Australia. Northern Western Australia has a roughly equal chance of above- or below-median rainfall in the February to April period. 

Read more about the current climate drivers in the Climate Driver Update

The Tropical Climate Note has changed

On 18 May, the Tropical Climate Note was renamed the Tropical Climate Update. It is published fortnightly, on alternate weeks to the Climate Driver Update.

The Climate Driver Update provides a summary of the major climate drivers affecting Australia, including tropical climate drivers.

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