WeatherWatch.co.nz was asked an interesting question this morning about a Southern Ocean cyclone in the Indian Ocean. WeatherWatch reader Tony Hastings wrote “I see that Tropical Cyclone 01S (Abela) is bearing down on Madagascar. Isn’t it pretty unusual to have an active cyclone during a southern winter? Could this possibly be a sign of climate change? Thanks”.
An interesting question Tony, as certainly a tropical cyclone around our part of the world in winter is incredibly rare and unusual. However out of season cyclones do occur all over earth – in fact in 2005 the USA was still naming hurricanes at Christmas time (winter) – then the next 10 years went quiet, so can’t be directly linked to climate change.
We don’t monitor the Indian Ocean, so we reached out to our good friends at Weatherzone in Australia who do so on a daily basis – and talked to a Senior Meteorologist, Cobus Cronje, about this winter cyclone.
“Tropical cyclones to the east and northeast of Madagascar are not that strange during the winter months” says Cobus “especially during a year where there are lingering sea surface temperatures above 26 degrees. What would have been strange (and very unlikely) is if a cyclone moved down the Mozambique Channel during the winter months”.
The Mozambique Channel has a cold current of water on the eastern edge – which would weaken this cyclone if it went that way anyway.
As it turns out Cyclone Abela has a very short life though– because of sea surface temperatures dropping in the path ahead, the storm will weaken and unravel at sea.
Meanwhile two tropical cyclones are churning out at sea in the eastern Pacific Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere – while the Atlantic Ocean remains remarkably calm this hurricane season (and the Atlantic is the breeding grounds for tropical storms that hit the USA, Canada and UK).
– Images / Wunderground