20 Jan 2010

El Nino raises cyclone risk in Polynesia, says meteorologist

4:07 pm on 20 January 2010

There is a warning that the current El Nino weather pattern increases the chance of cyclones hitting the islands of Samoa.

So far this season, the region has largely been spared but Raymond Tanabe, who is a meteorologist at the national weather service office in Honolulu, says the warming of ocean temperatures increases the chances of tropical cyclones.

Mr Tanabe has been holding a workshop for the Samoas.

"One of the key things with El Nino here in Samoa is that it increases the chance for tropical cyclones. In places like Majuro, which is north of the equator but closer to the dateline, we tend to see hurricanes form closer to the dateline during El Nino years and that increases the threat of the Samoa region getting hit by a hurricane."