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Pacific ENSO Update

2nd Quarter, 2012 Vol. 18 No. 2


TC activity in the western North Pacific during 2012 is expected to rebound somewhat from the record-setting inactivity experienced during 2010, and the below-normal activity in 2011. From January 2012 through mid-April of 2012, there was one notable episode in mid-March of westerly wind along the equator extending eastward to near 160°E accompanied by some areas of disturbed weather in low latitude (south of 8°N). Through mid-April 2012, there have been two TCs numbered by the JTWC, and four TCs carried in-warning by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). The first of the JMA TCs was a weak short-lived (13-14 January 2012) tropical depression located to the northeast of Singapore. The second of the JMA tropical cyclones TCs, and the first of the year (01W) for the JTWC formed in the South China Sea during mid-February 2012. It reached only tropical depression status. During late March 2012, TC 02W formed in the South China Sea. It was named Pakhar by the JMA. It reached tropical storm status according to the JMA but became a minimal (65 kt) typhoon according to the JTWC. Typhoon Pakhar made landfall in Vietnam. The fourth JMA TC formed northwest of Hawaii on April 4, when a large cluster of thunderstorms developed into a low-pressure area, which developed an extensive area of near gale-force wind on its north side. While showing subtropical characteristics, the large low-pressure area crossed the International Date Line and entered the northwestern Pacific Ocean. On April 8, the JMA began monitoring it as a tropical depression. Late on April 11, the tropical depression was absorbed by a weather front northeast of Wake Island.

The Southern Hemisphere cyclone season of 2011-2012 has been well below average, particularly in the South Pacific Ocean. Most of the Southern Hemisphere TC activity has been in the South Indian Ocean. This is consistent with La Niña, and was anticipated in earlier PEAC forecasts. The level of activity in the South Pacific was much lower than anticipated, and only three TCs were named in this basin. Cyril and Daphne were named by RSMC Nadi (Fiji), and Jasmine was named by the Brisbane TCWC. At the end of its long eastward trek from Australia’s Cape York peninsula, cyclone Jasmine affected Tonga with gales and flooding rains. Cyclones Cyril and Daphne, along with monsoonal winds accompanying them, caused great flooding in Fiji. Fiji's Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, described the flooding as ''three to four times worse'' than the last devastating Fiji floods in 2009. TC activity east of the International Date Line has been virtually non-existent. Only the remnants of TCs Jasmine, Cyril and Daphne passed across the 180th meridian before dissipation.

The Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) extended range forecast for Northwest Pacific typhoon activity in 2012 anticipates a season with activity slightly below normal. Based on current and projected climate signals, the Northwest Pacific typhoon activity in 2012 is forecast by the TSR to be about 10% below the 1965-2011 long-term normal. As of this writing, the Hong Kong Laboratory for Atmospheric Research (LAR) has not released its April outlook for the 2012 western North Pacific typhoon activity. A forecast of 2012 western Pacific TC activity developed by Paul Stanko (a lead forecaster at the Guam WFO) calls for slightly reduced TC activity in the both the western North Pacific basin and within Micronesia.

No further TC activity is anticipated for American Samoa through June 2012 to finish out the current cyclone season.

The PEAC Center archives western North Pacific tropical cyclone numbers, track coordinates, and 1-minute average maximum sustained wind taken from operational warnings issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) of the U. S. Air Force and Navy, located at Pearl Harbor, Hawai'i. Western North Pacific tropical cyclone names are obtained from warnings issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), which is the World Meteorological Organization's Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) for the western North Pacific basin. The PEAC archives South Pacific tropical cyclone names, track coordinates, central pressure, and 10-minute average maximum sustained wind estimates from advisories issued by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centers at Brisbane, Nadi, and Wellington. The numbering scheme and the 1-minute average maximum sustained wind estimates are taken from warnings issued by the JTWC. There are sometimes differences in the statistics (e.g., storm maximum intensity) for a given tropical cyclone among the agencies that are noted in this summary.

Pacific ENSO Applications Climate (PEAC) Center
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Honolulu, HI 96822
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Page Last Modified: June 09 2012 01:32:13 GMT


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