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Environment, Government Federal

TALENT ALERT: Clean up begins as FNQ smashed by 500mm of rain with warnings for future cyclone seasons

CMC 4 mins read

As Tropical North Queensland reels from the devastation left by the tropical low from ex-Cyclone Jasper, locals are weathering intense rainfall and flooding. 

 

Climate experts have modelling showing future cyclone seasons will move further south as we approach the year 2100.

As the climate and oceans warm, tropical cyclones are predicted to move further southward to population centres in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales, according to new modelling released by XDI (Cross Dependency Initiative), global leaders in physical climate risk analysis. 

XDI‘s report out today calls for homeowners, property buyers and governments to consider cyclone risk in their building standards. 

 

Scientists, tourism operators and community leaders are available to comment on the destruction of Cyclone Jasper and the modelling of tropical cyclones and their impacts. 

 

SCIENCE

 

Dr Karl Mallon - Founder and Director of Science and Technology, XDI (Cross Dependency Initiative).

Location - Sydney

Dr Karl Mallon is the Co-founder and Director of Science and Technology at XDI (Cross Dependency Initiative). With a background in both Physics and Mechanical Engineering, Karl has worked in climate change mitigation, policy and technical analysis since 1991. 

 

“Warm waters create and sustain tropical cyclones and modelling of warming sea temperatures suggest tropical cyclones will start reaching further south. This means areas previously outside of cyclone zones will be the firing line but, unlike northern Australia, these areas lack the infrastructure designed to withstand such extreme weather events. At the same time, other research suggests an increase in the peak intensity of winds in regions already experiencing tropical cyclones,”

 

"Limiting carbon emissions is happening too slowly to avoid many climate impacts, so the regions we're identifying need to prepare for winds and high seas of an intensity they have never experienced before.  They should seriously consider adopting higher building standards typical of northern Australia as soon as possible, because transitioning the built environment to cope with the wider reach of cyclones will take many years," 

 

Dr Simon Bradshaw - Research Director, Climate Council

Location – Sydney
Dr Simon Bradshaw is a researcher on climate science and the impacts of a warming climate; his research covers extreme weather, bushfires, cyclones, health, security and other areas of climate science and impacts. He has worked extensively throughout the Pacific, and has in-depth knowledge of how the increasing severity of tropical storm systems impacts on regional communities.

 

“Everything we see today is happening against the backdrop of a fast warming planet. We know that climate change, driven by the burning of coal, oil and gas, means greater risks from fire, extreme heat, floods, and tropical cyclones, and that Queenslanders are on the front line.

 

“With a warmer atmosphere and ocean, cyclones can become more intense and destructive. They may intensify more quickly, may retain their strength for longer upon making landfall, and may dump more rain. Combined with rising sea levels, they also cause more damaging storm surges.

 

“Our thoughts are with everyone in Far North Queensland, who have been whalloped by extreme heat, floods, and now face a nervous time with Cyclone Jasper. We urge everyone to keep up to date with the latest information and warnings, and stay as safe as possible.”

 

TOURISM/REEF

 

Dr Dean Miller, Director of Great Barrier Reef Legacy and The Forever Reef Project

Location: Port Douglas

Dr Dean Miller co-founded a not-for-profit created to address the urgent need to secure the long-term survival of the Great Barrier Reef. He is the driving force behind the Forever Reef Project, essentially a 'coral ark' that will collect and maintain living samples of all 415 species of coral on the Great Barrier Reef. Dr Miller is currently involved in research projects monitoring reef health and bleaching events, and he has a tour operation based in Port Douglas that takes guests to swim with dwarf minke whales.

 

"Tropical Cyclones are severe weather events and as such can have devastating impacts to homes, our environment and even lives. For reefs in the pathway it can range from completely smashed apart and stripped bare, to almost no impact at all as each reef is different and it entirely depends on the wind and wave direction and intensity at the time.”

 

"Here in Port Douglas our community has readied itself for Cyclone Jasper - houses and infrastructure have been packed down, all vessels have been evacuated from the marina and we now wait until Jasper's landfall tomorrow to see what he will bring.”

 

“As the climate warms, we will see increasingly more frequent and more extreme weather events. Cyclones are just another suite of global warnings on top of mass coral bleachings, intense forest fires, and melting ice caps that clearly demonstrate that climate change is not something of the future but something of right here and now. "

 

COMMUNITY

 

Lucy Graham - Director - Cairns and Far North Environment Centre Inc. (CAFNEC)

Location - Cairns

As the director of CAFNEC, Lucy is engaged with community and environment groups throughout FNQ on the front line of climate impacts, calling for change and implementing on ground solutions.

 

“Climate change predictions have said that the far northern region of Australia will experience increasing severity of fires, floods, cyclones, and heat. Our communities are feeling that now, we just went from huge fires on the Atherton tablelands, to sitting in back to back heat waves, to now as we watch a cyclone loom on the horizon. There is no rest for our community between these climate events, and we know that the summer has only just started. This is the evidence that we need better climate policy and emissions reductions targets that align with 1.5 degrees now, yesterday, 10 years ago.” 


For interviews with climate scientists, tourism operators and community leaders please contact Sean Kennedy, Climate Media Centre, 0447 121 378  sean.kennedy@climatemediacentre.org.au


Contact details:

Sean Kennedy, Climate Media Centre, 0447 121 378  sean.kennedy@climatemediacentre.org.au

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