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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 9 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2603-2623, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-2603-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Sep 2018

Research article | 21 Sep 2018

Extreme water levels, waves and coastal impacts during a severe tropical cyclone in northeastern Australia: a case study for cross-sector data sharing

Thomas R. Mortlock1,2, Daryl Metters3, Joshua Soderholm4, John Maher3, Serena B. Lee5, Geoffrey Boughton6, Nigel Stewart4, Elisa Zavadil7, and Ian D. Goodwin2 Thomas R. Mortlock et al.
  • 1Risk Frontiers, St Leonards, 2065, Australia
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, 2109, Australia
  • 3Coastal Impacts Unit, Department of Environment and Science Queensland Government, Deagon, 4017, Australia
  • 4Fugro Roames, Runcorn, 4113, Australia
  • 5Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, Griffith University, Gold Coast 4215, Australia
  • 6Cyclone Testing Station, James Cook University, Douglas, 4811, Australia
  • 7Alluvium, Cremorne, 3121, Australia

Abstract. Severe tropical cyclone (TC) Debbie made landfall on the northern Queensland coast of Australia on 27 March 2017 after crossing the Great Barrier Reef as a slow-moving Category 4 system. Groups from industry, government and academia collected coastal hazard and impact data before, during and after the event and shared these data to produce a holistic picture of TC Debbie at the coast. Results showed the still water level exceeded the highest astronomical tide by almost a metre. Waves added a further 16% to water levels along the open coast, and were probably unprecedented for this area since monitoring began. In most places, coastal barriers were not breached and as a result there was net offshore sand transport. If landfall had occurred 2h earlier with the high tide, widespread inundation and overwash would have ensued. This paper provides a case study of effective cross-sector data sharing in a natural hazard context. It advocates for a shared information platform for coastal extremes in Australia to help improve the understanding and prediction of TC-related coastal hazards in the future.

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Tropical cyclone (TC) Debbie crossed the northeastern coast of Australia on 27 March 2017. A multi-sector consortium collected data throughout the event to produce a holistic picture of hazards and impacts at the coast. While water levels and waves were unprecedented for this area since monitoring began, TC Debbie can be regarded as a near miss in terms of widespread coastal flooding. This work provides a case study of cross-sector data sharing in a natural hazard context in Australia.
Tropical cyclone (TC) Debbie crossed the northeastern coast of Australia on 27 March 2017. A...
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