The importance of Quaternary records in reducing risk from tropical cyclones

Nott, Jonathan (2007) The importance of Quaternary records in reducing risk from tropical cyclones. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 251 (1). pp. 137-149.

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Abstract

Numerous late Holocene records of tropical cyclones have been collected from north-east Queensland, Australia. They are in the form of multiple sedimentary ridges paralleling the shore. The ridges are composed of coral fragments, or shell and sand or pure sand. A method to determine the intensity of the tropical cyclone responsible for deposition of the ridges at each site has been applied and the results suggest that in the majority of cases these features were deposited by very high magnitude events. The results suggest that extrapolations of long-term cyclone magnitude and frequencies from the 30- to 40-year-long instrumental record, which is the method commonly used to assess risk from this hazard, substantially underestimate the risk from this hazard. This is confirmed for the Cairns region by an 800-year-long high-resolution isotope record of tropical cyclones preserved in a limestone stalagmite. Together the sedimentary and isotope records suggest that tropical cyclone activity in north-east Queensland has been in a phase of quiescence since before European settlement of the region in approximately AD 1870. It is suggested that the incorporation of the palaeo record into risk assessments will provide a more realistic guide to the magnitude frequency relationship of tropical cyclones and help reduce risk from this hazard as a consequence.

Item ID: 2511
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: tropical cyclones; hazard risk assessments; sedimentary ridges; isotope records
ISSN: 1872-616X
Date Deposited: 06 May 2009 04:04
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0499 Other Earth Sciences > 049999 Earth Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040601 Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 6
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