Extreme water levels, waves and coastal impacts during a severe tropical cyclone in Northeast 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 Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Severe Tropical Cyclone (TC) Debbie made landfall on the north 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 this 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 percent 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 two hours 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 - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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