Cyclones Hitting the Gold Coast May Become Regular

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
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More cyclones will hit the Gold Coast in coming decades as a result of climate change, an insurance forecaster says.

Only a handful of tropical cyclones have battered southeast Queensland since Bureau of Meteorology records were kept in 1858, with the Gold Coast not badly affected since 1954.

Brisbane hasn’t suffered from a major cyclone since 1974 when floods devastated the state capital.

But insurance consultancy Taylor Fry is predicting more cyclones for the Gold Coast in coming decades, which could also hit northern NSW towns like Byron Bay.

“One of the big concerns about climate change, long-term, is that cyclones will come farther south than they have in the past,” senior actuary Sharanjit Paddam told reporters on Wednesday.

“That might lead to areas that were not exposed becoming exposed, like say the Gold Coast.”

It could take about 70 years for cyclones to become a more regular event on the Gold Coast, he said, adding more advanced scientific modelling was needed to more accurately predict local effects.

“Certainly the climate science is in the infancy,” he said.

Mr Paddam has co-authored a paper on climate change, which predicted that properties would become more expensive to insure if they were exposed to natural disasters like cyclones, floods and bushfires.

Still, Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has recently intervened to force Moreton Bay Regional Council, north of Brisbane, to remove all references to sea level rises from its regional plan.

But Mr Paddam said more action was needed from coastal councils to prepare for rising sea levels.

“I don’t think they’ve reacted enough,” he said.

 

By Stephen Johnson
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