Where will cyclone Oma go?

Cyclone Oma has ground to a halt between Vanuatu and New Caledonia. That’s not to say the cyclone has fizzled out – rather I mean it’s not changing its location very fast. But that’s may be about to change. But where will it go now?

I note that there is a large discrepancy between where the NZ Metservice, metservice.com, (and the Australian Bureau of Meterology www.bom.gov.au) puts it and where windy.com puts it.  At the time of writing, the former has it baring down as a deep low on the North Island by Saturday, while the latter has it heading north, up the Queensland coast but well offshore.

That’s likely to reflect the difficulty of modelling these weather systems.  Small changes in initial conditions can often cause large differences later on in time. Also, different models, though all trying to do the same kind of thing (e.g. a weather forecast) can make subtly different assumptions and approximations about the physics and that can lead to different results. It’s not just weather models where this can happen – I see it a lot in the models I work with in neuroscience.

Time will tell which (if either) forecast is ‘correct’. In the meantime, I’ll make sure that I have enough rope to get the trampoline tied down.


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