The southwest Pacific tropical cyclone database was kindly provided to NIWA by MetService (formerly New Zealand Meteorological Service) while gridded atmospheric analyses were provided by NCEP. The author is grateful to Cliff Revell for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript, to Erick Brenstrum of MetService for suggesting the analysis of Fig. 7b and to other MetService forecasters for valuable feedback during a workshop presentation of this work. Two anonymous reviewers provided comments that improved the manuscript. This research was funded by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology under Contract CO1831.
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