Historical Case Studies of Extreme Events: Meteorological Context
This factsheet provides brief descriptions of each of the meteorological contexts explored in the Historical Case Studies of Extreme Events Project, including: drought, heatwaves, east coast lows, Queensland floods, tropical cyclones, and storm tides. Drought is defined by the Bureau of Meteorology as “a prolonged, abnormally dry period when there is not enough water for users’ normal needs”. The long-term effects of drought are examined in two case studies on small inland agricultural (factsheet/full report) and mining communities (factsheet/full report). Heatwaves - prolonged periods of excessive and unusual heat - occurred in Adelaide and Melbourne of early 2009 (factsheet/full report). The flooding events considered in the case study on Queensland in 2008 are examples of riverine flooding (factsheet/full report). A storm tide occurs when a storm surge coincides with the normal (astronomical) high tide. A series of severe storm tides occurred along Australia’s east coast from the 1950s-1970s (factsheet/full report). East Cold Lows (ECLs), such as the Pasha Bulker storm that struck Newcastle in 2007 (factsheet/full report), are intense, relatively small, low-pressure systems associated with high seas, large amounts of very intense rainfall, and high wind speeds (but typically lower than those in a tropical cyclone). A tropical cyclone is an intense low pressure system that forms over tropical or sub-tropical waters, and gains its energy from the warmth of those waters. Cyclone Tracy, which struck Darwin in 1974, was one of Australia’s most destructive cyclone events (factsheet/full report). A companion report to this factsheet can be found here.
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