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. Mortlock*, Daryl Metters, Joshua Soderholm, John Maher, Serena B. Lee, Geoffrey Boughton, Nigel Stewart, Elisa Zavadil, Ian D. Goodwin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    44 Downloads (Pure)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2603-2623
    Number of pages21
    JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2018

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    Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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