An overview of the present climate in the tropical South Pacific Islands, with an outlook for the coming months, to assist in dissemination of climate information in the Pacific region.

Number 14 – 12 November 2001

October’s Climate: Very dry conditions have now persisted for many months in parts of the Coral Sea. Low rainfall also continued throughout central Tonga and Niue with totals less than 50% of average. Other regions with well below average October rainfall were Kiribati, northern Vanuatu, and the Marquesas. In contrast, October rainfall was at least 200% of average in central Vanuatu, areas around Noumea – New Caledonia western areas of Viti Levu – Fiji, northern New Zealand, and Bora Bora – French Polynesia.

ENSO and sea surface temperatures: The three-month mean Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) remains in the neutral range. The October value was �0.3. Overall atmospheric conditions and sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies also continue in the neutral range. Neutral ENSO conditions are expected to persist throughout the Southwest Pacific wet season.

Forecast validation: How well are we doing with our predictions?

Three month outlook: Slightly enhanced trade winds are expected to persist in the central Pacific, displacing the SPCZ further south and west than usual, promoting average to below average rainfall from Tuvalu to the Marquesas and average to above average rainfall in some areas west of the Dateline. Average rainfall is likely in most other islands.

Feature Article: Fewer tropical cyclones are likely in the Pacific this year.

Sources of South Pacific rainfall data

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