7 Nov 2011

Fewer cyclones predicted in Pacific this summer

4:15 pm on 7 November 2011

Climate and weather forecasters from the Southwest Pacific region are predicting below average tropical cyclone activity for the current season.

An average of nine tropical cyclones occur in the region during the season which runs from November to April.

New Zealand's National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research or NIWA says five to eight named cyclones are expected, with at least one predicted to reach Category three.

NIWA's principal scientist, Dr James Renwick says lower cyclone levels are due to the La Nina weather pattern.

"Normally in a La Nina the activity in the tropical Pacific generally tends to be a bit down on normal. And in similar seasons in the past where we've had these kind of conditions, there have tended to be less tropical cyclones in total."

Dr James Renwick says during the second half of the season, higher than normal cyclone activity is possible east of the Dateline especially in French Polynesia.