Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cyclone and weather watching

Although I have continued to be a weather watcher for sailing purposes it has been a while since I have been concerned about cyclones for our planning as we are normally outside the cyclone areas in the monsoonal seasons. However, this year being in Darwin it is a thing that concerns me greatly. The last time I monitored weather for cyclone activity for our own preservation was in Raiatea, French Polynesia when we sailed the Pacific Ocean as we were held up there for the cyclone season as French Polynesia is just outside the cyclone belt. They can still have some nasty storms and winds but they do not usually experience cyclones.
(Tropical cyclone Evan as it hits Fiji)

Cyclones are an evil necessity in Australia as it is usually the cyclones that bring water to the inland areas, last few years cyclone and storm activity brought water to Lake Eyre and the Murray River, many cyclones that hit around Broome area that cross the mainland and then forms a low depression carries the rain across the driest parts of the country which farmers in VIC, NSW and SA rely on for crops.

The cyclone belt appears to be active east of Africa across the top end of Australia and through to the Pacific to the west side of French Polynesia. One of the ingredients for forming a cyclone is sea temperature, cyclones can form in sea temperature above 26.5⁰C a website to monitor this for Australia is -

(As seen on the above website, it is possible to click on and area and it will give the lat/long and sea temp at that point)

One of the other sites I monitor is the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) rather than me trying to explain what this is and what it does there is a great web page that will do it better than I can and that is -

After understanding what you have read from this website on the MJO go to this website and it will provide the last 40 days MJO monitoring. This is only one of the tools that is used by the met as they use satellite and models to predict all weather.

(MJO monitoring as seen on the website indicating activity as it is out of the centre circle)

It is interesting to note that the MJO is split into 8 phases and Phase 1 is simultaneously east of Africa in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific Ocean around the Fijian area where a cyclone Evan has created havoc at this moment.

In monitoring the storms worldwide the following website is very good -

There are many weather websites that can be used for monitoring the weather and many sailors have their preferences, I personally use many websites and listen to weather reports on commercial radio , VHF radio and HF radio.

Other websites I use for weather:-

Whatever website you prefer to use make sure that it provides what you need there are many people that use in Australia and it is a very good site for coastal use only. This website is for wind surfers, surfers and boats that hang very close to the coastline. If you search the website you will note that it states yacht skippers should use another website. A few miles out to sea can be different than what is experienced along the coastline.






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