Possible tropical cyclone forms over the Solomon Islands. Photo: BoM
Australian meteorologists are closely watching a deep low-pressure system north of the Solomon Islands that may develop into the first tropical system to enter the Queensland monitoring zone in July in at least four decades.
The low is currently moving south-westwards and may enter Australia’s eastern region either late on Tuesday or during Wednesday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. The agency said the system is expected to develop further and could form into a tropical cyclone near the islands either on Wednesday or Thursday.
While the system is likely to “remain very far offshore and does not pose a threat to the Queensland coast”, the bureau noted that the storm is forming well outside the official cyclone season that runs from November 1-April 30.
Deep low over the Solomon Islands may develop into a cyclone. Photo: NASA
Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at the bureau, said that while it remains to be seen when and whether the system becomes a cyclone, a storm this late in the year is very rare.
“There is no previous instance of a July cyclone in the Queensland part of the Australian region in the satellite era” dating back to the early 1970s, Dr Trewin said.
The region has recorded a June event in the region, Cyclone Ida, back in 1972, and there was also a July cyclone off the west coast of Australia in 1996, he said.
Another view of the deep low over the Solomons. Photo: Nullschool.net
One consequence of a cyclone over the Solomons Islands region is that it may contribute to strengthening the El Nino now taking hold in central and eastern equatorial Pacific.
The developing low is likely to trigger westward wind bursts that would reinforce the reversal of the easterly trade winds, shifting more heat to the west as is typical during El Nino events.
Queensland, meanwhile, has seen some of the most abnormal weather in Australia during the first half of 2015.
The state’s mean temperature for the January-June period is running 1.06 degrees above average, making it the hottest first half of any year in more than a century of records for the state, Dr Trewin said. Average rainfall is also running about 26 per cent below average, with northern and western areas among the driest.
National temperatures are running about 0.49 degrees above average so far this year, he said.
Courtesy of smh.com.au