Here are highlights of new research into tropical cyclones of the Southwest Indian Ocean.  The research has been organised into short sections – devised to inform and update meteorologists.  These extracts are to benefit forecasting for southern Africa and the Southwest Indian Ocean and were developed with guidance of the national meteorological services in Mozambique, Madagascar and Seychelles.

The short videos, animations, audio and visualisation have been created as activities to provide insight on tropical cyclones in the Southwest Indian Ocean, including:

  • the climatology and historic tracks 2010 to 2020,
  • recent information on the performance of numerical weather prediction (NWP) and,
  • the context and limitations of numerical forecasts.

All videos, animations and audio have a full transcription text in English, Portuguese and French.

The activities can be completed in any order; engage with each section, or take a break and return to the site any time.  The videos and animations are five to fifteen minutes each.  Take the opportunity to explore the mapped tracks of tropical cyclones in recent years.  An hour-long podcast is included, which is a conversational discussion between experts in modelling tropical cyclones.  After completing all the activities, check your learning with a closing quiz – score 10 or more to reveal a prize!

The research analysed the tropical depressions, storms and cyclones that occurred in the southern Indian Ocean over the last 10 to 15 years, ending in mid-2020, comparing the UK Met Office and ECMWF operational models, both deterministic and ensemble. The work went on to investigate the effects of the Madden Julian Oscillation.



The research work was carried out by Rebecca Emerton at the University of Reading, with Nick Klingaman, Kevin Hodges, Pier Liugi Vidale of the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science and Liz Stephens of the University of Reading. Funding was provided by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) through the Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) programme.

The work was guided by regional organisations:

  • Vincent Amelie the CEO Seychelles Meteorological Authority;
  • Zo Rakotomavoof the Madagascar National Meteorological Office;
  • Mussa Mustafa Deputy Director National Meteorology Institute of Mozambique;
  • Erin Coughlan de Perez the Manager of Climate Science at Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

Thanks to Julian Heming of the UK Met Office and Linus Magnusson of ECMWF who contributed their time and tropical cyclone modelling and NWP verification expertise to the podcast.

These training activities were created by the Institute for Environmental Analytics and are available as CC-BY 4.0