20 Oct 2010

Up to 12 Pacific cyclones expected this summer

1:09 pm on 20 October 2010

Meteorological experts say up to 12 tropical cyclones could affect the South Pacific region this summer.

A meeting of weather experts from both sides of the Tasman, the United States and around the South Pacific has concluded that more tropical cyclones are likely this season.

On average, there are usually nine cyclones in the Southwest Pacific each cyclone season, which runs from November through to April.

The principal scientist at the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, James Renwick, says because of La Nina conditions, some parts of the Pacific region seem more at risk than others.

"Countries that are west of the dateline. So New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and those regions are places that are seeing the most elevated risk. Papua New Guinea doesn't actually get affected by tropical cyclones all that much, but this year there is an enhanced risk there, too."

James Renwick says experts believe areas that will be at a reduced risk of cyclones this summer include French Polynesia, Tonga and Samoa.