Rare cyclone threatens typical Pacific cyclone season

7:52 am on 2 July 2015

A New Zealand academic says an abnormal tropical cyclone north of Solomon Islands may signal the end of the typical cyclone season.

Tropical cyclone forecast track map for Raquel.

Tropical cyclone forecast track map for Raquel. Photo: Commonwealth of Australia, 2015, Bureau of Meteorology.

The New Zealand Metservice says the category one cyclone, named Raquel, is the first on record to form in July around the Solomons and Papua New Guinea.

The cyclone season generally runs from November to April.

A physical geography professor at Victoria University in Wellington, James Renwick, says one out-of-season cyclone is not enough to determine whether cyclones will occur all year round.

But he says the ocean temperature has been increasing and that can contribute to cyclones forming.

"With warming, the idea of a tropical cyclone season might have to be revised and maybe it will be possible in future to get a tropical cyclone forming at any time of year but you can't extrapolate too much from one event."

James Renwick says researchers are running experiments that simulate cyclones to analyse the effect of global warming on cyclones on extreme weather events.

Late last night, the unseasonal cyclone was 245 kilometres north of Honiara and heading south southwest at 11 kilometres.