Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

Wild weather ahead- A land of droughts and flooding rains

by Jeni Bone on 13 Jan 2011
Tropical Cyclone ..
Experts are forecasting a major Cyclone to hit the Queensland coast including the Far North, sometime around Australia Day, 26 January.

As far back as July 2010, meteorologists were predicting unusually wet weather for much of the east coast, when the early stages of La Niña appeared. The bad news is, there's more to come, and rain-sodden Australia can only expect La Niña to run out of steam in Autumn (around April), when the system will ease off.

Comparisons with 'the floods of 1974' were inevitable. Many Queenslanders, especially in Brisbane, still have the flood levels marked on their garage walls as a reminder. So far, flood levels have remained a metre below the 1974 peak of 5.45m, but an increased population, much more development – much of it concrete on flood plains – have meant the impact and devastation are many times worse.

1974 was a major year for catastrophe in Australia. Off the back of the wettest year ever in1973, and in keeping with the strong La Niña event that prevailed, the 1973/74 northern wet season started early. By the end of 1973 large areas of the country were saturated. Then came January 1974, which featured probably the biggest continent-wide drenching since European settlement, inundating vast areas of the country.

Queensland and northern NSW suffered enormous damage from Tropical Cyclone Wanda around the Australia Day long weekend.

That season created chaos and inundation that lead to the Coast's biggest rescue operation to that time and 1500 people were evacuated, many houses were destroyed and cars swept away.

Then was Cyclone Tracy Christmas Day which obliterated Darwin, destroying 70% of its buildings and killing 71 people.



Alex Zadnik, a meteorologist at The Weather Channel, predicts about 15 tropical cyclones to form in Australian waters over this wet season (September to April) and said about half would be likely to cross the coast.
Mr Zadnik said the active weather was the result of a La Nina weather pattern during which cyclone activity usually increased by 50 per cent.

'During a La Nina year, we see warmer than usual sea surface temperatures around northern and eastern Australia,' he said.

'In turn, this increases the chance of tropical cyclones.'

Much of the problem lies in the urban planning of our towns and cities, which have undergone unprecedented building programs to accommodate residential expansion.

Dr Rob Roggema, a Research Fellow in the Climate Change Adaptation Program within RMIT University's Global Cities Research Institute, Landscape Architect/Planner and an inaugural visiting fellow at the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research, says this episode of major flooding can be attributed to poor planning practices and 'Increased concrete surfaces'.

'Recent planning practice has contributed to the magnitude of the flooding disaster in Queensland. In current planning practice, the amount of concrete surface is increased – leading to a much higher runoff than before – while increasing water storage capacity is not a major factor in compiling spatial plans and new buildings are placed in vulnerable places.'

He urges spatial planners and designers to take in to account these kinds of disasters, since the amount of runoff water is increased and many more people are placed at risk.

'If we are to learn from this for the future, we must create a long-term strategic and anticipative plan for Queensland in which new buildings are positioned in the least flood prone places, the water storage capacity of each catchment is calculated on twice the worst predicted event and the amount of non-permeable surface is halved – instead of literally rebuilding everything in exactly the same places and in exactly the same way.

'That kind of rebuilding does nothing to help communities adapt to future risks, but simply leaves these areas just as vulnerable to the next disaster of an even greater magnitude.'

More at http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthree/c20thc/flood7.htm

Mariners Museum 660x82NaiadPredictWind.com 2014

Related Articles

Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
A Q&A with Tom Trujillo about the Transpacific Race’s 49th running
Sail-World interviewed Tom Trujillo, the Transpac Race’s PRO, via email to learn more about this classic bluewater race. The Transpac Race (est 1906) is in a rarefied group of four races that are considered sailing’s greatest bluewater Corinthian challenges, and it welcomes a wildly diverse fleet of bluewater-worthy boats. The 49th running of this classic race is currently underway, so Sail-World caught up with Tom Trujillo, the race’s principal race officer, via email to learn more.
Posted on 7 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun
An interview with Allan McLean about the 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Allan McLean, the Marion to Bermuda Race’s executive director, to learn more about this biennial event. The 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race is set to kick off on Friday, June 9, so I caught up with Allan McLean, the race’s executive director, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the special America’s Cup experience that awaits Marion to Bermuda sailors upon reaching the Onion Patch.
Posted on 5 Jun
An interview with Ray Redniss about the STC’s annual Block Island Race
I caught up with Ray Redniss, the Block Island Race’s longtime PRO, via email to learn more about this classic event. I caught up with Ray Redniss, who has served as the PRO for the Block Island Race and the Vineyard Race (September 1, 2017) for the past twenty-plus years, via email to learn more about the state of this classic, early season New England event.
Posted on 22 May
An Q&A with Jeremy Pochman about 11th Hour Racing’s impressive efforts
I interviewed Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing to learn more about this forward-thinking environmental non-profit. 11th Hour Racing is doing some of the most forward-leaning environmental work in the entire marine sphere, and I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing’s Strategic Director and Co-founder, to ask a few questions. All sailors are strongly encouraged to give this interview the time it deserves.
Posted on 15 May