Weekly Tropical Climate Note
Australian tropics transition to dry season
Dry conditions are expected for most of northern Australia this week. South-easterly winds prevail over the Northern Territory with showers mostly confined to coastal areas and offshore. The exceptional April heat persists, with near record temperatures likely for western parts of the Top End and Cape York this week. Read more about the exceptional heat in April.
Australia's tropical cyclone season is nearing its official end (30 April). Over the 2017–18 season, nine tropical cyclones were recorded in the Australian region, close to the long-term average of 11. Five of these nine tropical cyclones crossed the coast. Severe tropical cyclone Marcus hit Darwin at category 2 strength, then later strengthened to category 5 over the Indian Ocean, making it the strongest cyclone for the season. Although not counted in Australian cyclone statistics, tropical cyclone Cempaka occurred just north of the Australian region in late November.
See the Bureau's Severe Weather Events for details about each tropical cyclone.
Madden–Julian Oscillation weakens
As predicted, the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) weakened rapidly last week as it progressed eastward across the Indian Ocean and is now unlikely to be influencing tropical weather. International models predict the MJO will remain weak over the coming week, hence there is now little chance of another burst of the Australian monsoon this wet season (October–April). When and where the MJO will strengthen again is less clear, with significant differences between model forecasts.
See the Bureau's current MJO monitoring for more information.
Tropical Pacific to remain ENSO-neutral
The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral—neither El Niño nor La Niña. All international climate models indicate that the tropical Pacific Ocean will continue to slowly warm, but remain at neutral levels through the Australian winter. Most atmospheric and oceanic indicators of ENSO are currently neutral. Temperatures at and below the surface in the central Pacific Ocean are within the neutral range, and the trade winds are close to average for this time of year.
See the Bureau's current ENSO Wrap-Up for more information.
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