Eastie – East Coast Low

This is Eastie, better known as the East Coast Low.

Eastie represents the deep low-pressure systems that are an important climate feature along the south east coast of Australia.

These deep low-pressure systems can be caused by upper atmosphere disturbances, decaying cyclones, existing low-pressure conditions or in the wake of passing fronts.

Scientists have found that Eastie tends to have a mind of his own and can be quite hard to predict. This energetic little dog can be triggered into action overnight causing strong winds, big surf, heavy rains and lots of rough weather.

Eastie can appear all year round but typically prefers the seasons of autumn and winter. Even one-off events can dominate a region's annual rainfall tally, explaining a lot of the seasonal variability east of the Great Dividing Range.

Eastie usually cares little about what the larger climate dogs are up to. However, scientists have noticed that Eastie can be a bit timid when Ridgy, with his high pressure, is around. Scientists continue to look into Eastie's behaviour.

In the meantime we'll need to keep a close eye on this powerful little dog, especially when he is sparked into action.

Key things to know about the East Coast Low (ECL)

While Enso, Indy, Sam and Ridgy are key climate drivers that affect Victoria's seasonal rainfall, in eastern Gippsland their effect on annual rainfall can be masked by ECLs.

Eastie represents a key climate feature that can bring heavy rains to eastern Gippsland and the east coast of Australia.

So what are East Coast Lows?

  • can occur several times a year of the eastern coast of Australia
  • can occur at any time of year, but often in autumn and winter
  • can form rapidly overnight and are thought to be caused by decaying cyclones, existing low pressure systems or in the wake of passing fronts
  • sea surface temperature gradients can contribute to their formation
  • cause heavy and widespread rainfall, often dominating a region's annual tally
  • evidence suggests that increasing Sub-Tropical Ridge strength might affect their formation.

Where to go for more information?

Page last updated: 08 Nov 2021