A vertical wind structure that leads to extreme rainfall and major flooding in southeast Australia

Callaghan, Jeff and Power, Scott B. (2017) A vertical wind structure that leads to extreme rainfall and major flooding in southeast Australia. Journal of Southern Hemisphere Earth Systems Science, 66 (4). pp. 380-401. ISSN 2206-5865


Here we examine winds associated with extreme rainfall and major flooding in coastal catchments and more broadly over southeastern Australia. Both radio-sonde and re-analysis data are examined. In every case (i) atmospheric moisture content is high and (ii) the low-level winds are onshore, and in almost every case (iii) the wind-direction turns anti-cyclonically with increasing height up to 500 hPa. Data from Brisbane extending back more than 50 years is consistent with this behavior: winds turn anti-cyclonically with increasing height on days with heavy rainfall, whereas winds turn cyclonically with increasing height on days with light or no rainfall. In the coastal zone, extreme rainfall rarely occurs without (i), (ii) and (iii). In eastern Australia beyond the coastal zone, conditions (i) and (iii) are also associated with extreme rainfall. We found very few cases where such conditions were not associated with extreme rainfall in this broader region. This study extends previous work by showing that the link between turning winds and rainfall exists in both the tropics and subtropics, and the link ap-plies in cases of extreme rainfall and associated major flooding.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2021 00:31
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2021 06:44
Uncontrolled Keywords: synoptic meteorology; air masses, atmospheric motion
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040107 Meteorology
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370202 Climatology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961010 Natural Hazards in Urban and Industrial Environments
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9602 Atmosphere and Weather > 960203 Weather
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1904 Natural hazards > 190405 Meteorological hazards (e.g. cyclones and storms)
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.22499/3.6604.002
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42416

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