A long-term view of tropical cyclone risk in Australia

Mortlock, Thomas R., Nott, Jonathan, Crompton, Ryan, and Koschatzky, Valentina (2023) A long-term view of tropical cyclone risk in Australia. Natural Hazards, 118 (1). pp. 571-588.

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Abstract

Natural hazard risk is assessed by leveraging, among other things, the historical record. However, if the record is short then there is the danger that risk models are not capturing the true envelope of natural variability. In the case of tropical cyclones in Australia, the most reliable observational record spans less than 50 years. Here, we use a much longer (ca. 6000-year) chronology of intense paleo-cyclones and, for the first time, blend this information with a catastrophe loss model to reassess tropical cyclone wind risk in Northeast Australia. Results suggests that the past several decades have been abnormally quiescent compared to the long-term mean (albeit with significant temporal variability). Category 5 cyclones made landfall within a section of the northeast coast of Australia almost five times more frequently, on average, over the late Holocene period than at present. If the physical environment were to revert to the long-term mean state, our modelling suggests that under the present-day exposure setting, insured losses in the area would rise by over 200%. While there remain limitations in incorporating paleoclimate data into a present-day view of risk, the value of paleoclimate data lies in contextualizing the present-day risk environment, rather than complementing it, and supporting worst-case disaster planning.

Item ID: 79545
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-0840
Keywords: Australia, Catastrophe loss modelling, Climate variability, Paleoclimate, Tropical cyclone
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2024 00:53
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience > 370903 Natural hazards @ 100%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1904 Natural hazards > 190405 Meteorological hazards (e.g. cyclones and storms) @ 100%
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