Meteorologists welcome new cyclone modeling systems

Staff at the Samoa Meteorology Division say that the availability of new tropical cyclone modeling systems would enable them to make better-informed decisions in terms of preparedness.

Early this month scientists at the University of Newcastle in Australia and New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research [N.I.W.A.] announcement the development of a new way of predicting tropical cyclones four months ahead of the cyclone season.

A statement released by the University of Newcastle claimed the new model could improve early warnings, support advanced disaster management preparedness, and save lives during the Southwest Pacific tropical cyclone season.

Samoa Meteorology Division Scientific Officer, Silipa Mulitalo, told the Samoa Observer in response to questions sent through email that they are aware of the new modeling system and briefly discussed its features with the developer last year.

“Yes, we have been made aware of this very important tool with remarkable skill. In fact, we have discussed this briefly with the developer of this T.C. [Tropical Cyclone] Outlook himself, on his visit to Samoa last year, our colleague from the University of Newcastle,” said Mr Mulitalo.

“This is of course a very newly but well established tool that will contribute significantly in the operations and what to be expected in the coming tropical cyclone season.”

Asked how important is the new tropical cyclone outlook modeling to the Meteorological Service, he emphasised that as a forecasting tool it may not be 100 per cent accurate, but it will provide useful guidance for all meteorological and disaster management offices in the region.

“Of course, a forecast tool may not perform 100 per cent at all times, but it is important to note that this will be useful guidance and a heads up for met offices and disaster management offices in the South Pacific region as we head into the 2020-2021 Tropical Cyclone season [November–April].”

The availability of the new tropical cyclone modeling system will also benefit members of the public, Mr Mulitalo further reiterated as the new tool will provide data up to four months before the start of a tropical cyclone season.

“This new seasonal island-scale T.C. [tropical cyclone] outlook is highly valuable to not only the met office in the operational aspect but the general public as well, which includes an outlook model tailored specifically for Samoa. 

“We make better informed decisions for preparedness and the guidance is generated monthly between July and January, offering up to four months lead time before the T.C. [tropical cyclone] season starts. This type of information will be very pivotal to various sectors in the country in terms of preparation.”

Dr Andrew Magee, who works with the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Water, Climate and Land, said that as current operational outlooks only offer guidance one month before cyclone season starts, the team’s findings and the new outlook model are key to ensuring more effective disaster management for tropical cyclone impacted nations and territories in the Southwest Pacific region.

As part of the joint University of Newcastle–N.I.W.A. Project, the developers tailored tropical cyclone outlooks for individual Pacific Island nations and territories. Samoa is included in the Central Southwest Pacific model and has been combined with American Samoan and Niue. 

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?