Introduction to the special issue: historical and projected climatic changes to Australian natural hazards

Introduction

Australia’s size and varied climates mean that it is affected by a range of weather-related natural hazards, including tropical and extra-tropical storms and associated extreme wind and hail, coastal and inland floods, heatwaves and bushfires. These hazards cause multiple human and environmental impacts, and collectively account for 93 % of Australian insured losses (Schuster 2013). In addition, drought—often treated distinctly from other hazards due to its more gradual onset—can cause substantial reductions in agricultural productivity, and places stress on municipal and industrial water resources and natural ecosystems.

Evidence is building that the frequency and cost of natural hazards are increasing both in Australia (Insurance Council of Australia 2013; Schuster 2013) and globally (Munich Re 2014). However, understanding the cause of these changes has proved to be difficult, with increases in reporting rates (Munich Re 2014), changes in societal exposure and vulnerability (Bouwer 2011; Neumayer and Barthel 2011) and anthropogenic climate change (IPCC 2013) all potentially playing a role in explaining the observed changes. Yet although the potential causes are many, correct attribution of the observed changes is necessary in order to identify appropriate policy responses, and to predict how the frequency and severity of natural hazards might change in the future.

This Special Issue focuses on the specific role of large-scale climatic changes on the observed and future incidence of Australian natural hazards. The Special Issue is divided into seven papers, each covering a major class of climate-influenced natural hazard: floods, drought, storms (including wind and hail), coastal extremes, bushfires, heatwaves and frost. The work was initiated by the Working Group on Trends and Extremes from the Australian Water and Energy Exchanges (OzEWEX) initiative, which is a regional hydroclimate project run under the auspices of the Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) initiative.

Linking large-scale climate processes to Australian natural hazards

The structure of the Special Issue is illustrated in Fig. 1, in which anthropogenic climate change and associated large-scale climate patterns are related to each natural hazard through a complex cascade of processes and scales. Although the emphasis is on the natural hazards (bottom row of Fig. 1), the significant interrelationships between the hazards themselves, as well as between each hazard and larger-scale climate, has necessitated reviewing each hazard as part of a larger, interconnected system. This section briefly summarises the approach taken in this Special Issue to account for these interrelationships.

Fig. 1
figure1

Illustration of the complex processes that link large-scale climate variability to a natural hazard. The arrows illustrate the processes for floods (see Johnson et al. 2016, for further information)

Starting at the global scale, Australia’s natural hazards are influenced by changes in the global energy balance, as well as by shifts in global circulation patterns. These changes are documented in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports (e.g. IPCC 2013) and are not covered further in the Special Issue. Australia’s climate is also influenced by several hemispheric-scale patterns of climate variability, which can cause periods of lowered or heightened potential hazard activity. The most important patterns for Australia are the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomenon, the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode (e.g. Risbey et al. 2009b). An updated summary of historical and future changes to these patterns, as well as their connection to each of the seven natural hazards reviewed in this Special Issue, is provided in Table 1, and is referred to in a number of the specific hazard papers.

Table 1 Observed and projected changes in hemispheric-scale patterns of climate variability, and their link to Australian natural hazards

At smaller spatial and temporal scales, natural hazards are influenced by a variety of meteorological processes. A number of these processes have been summarised in Walsh et al. (2016), and include tropical cyclones, extratropical cyclones and their cold fronts, thunderstorms and east coast lows (coastal low pressure systems along parts of the east Australian coastline). These weather systems are often hazards themselves (e.g. leading to extreme wind and hail), and some are also causes of other hazards including floods (reviewed in Johnson et al. 2016) and coastal extremes (reviewed in McInnes et al. 2016).

In attempting to understand and attribute historical and future changes to natural hazards, significant emphasis is often placed on understanding changes to various atmospheric and oceanic variables, including temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity and atmospheric pressure (green circles in Fig. 1). There are multiple reasons for focusing on these variables as indicators of large-scale change, including the availability of long instrumental records, the ability of climate models to simulate the variables and the relatively limited influence of other human activities (e.g. land use change and the regulation of river systems) that can confound attempts to directly attribute changes to the natural hazards themselves. However, the connection between these variables and each natural hazard can be complex, with multiple variables usually acting jointly to influence the hazard (Leonard et al. 2014). For example, extreme rainfall is generally regarded as the proximate cause for most fluvial floods; however, annual average rainfall and the variables that drive evapotranspiration can collectively influence the catchment moisture content prior to the extreme rainfall event, and thus can also have a significant influence on flood magnitude (see Johnson et al. 2016, for a more detailed discussion).

In many cases, the mechanisms by which the atmospheric and oceanic variables and processes influence hazards are common to multiple hazards, albeit with subtle (but often important) distinctions. For example, heatwaves, frosts, bushfires and droughts are all influenced by atmospheric temperature, but in different ways. Heatwaves are one or several days of extremely high temperature (Perkins-Kirkpatrick et al. 2016), whereas frosts occur on timescales that are similar to heatwaves but at the other end of the temperature scale. Interestingly, Crimp et al. (2016) show somewhat surprisingly that the prevalence of frosts can increase despite an increase in mean atmospheric temperature. In the case of bushfires, high (but not necessary extreme) temperatures are a necessary but not sufficient condition for the occurrence of severe bushfires (Sharples et al. 2016). Finally, the relationship between temperature and drought arises through evapotranspiration processes that occur on timescales of months or years (Kiem et al. 2016).

Models are commonly used to describe our understanding of the relationship between the atmospheric and oceanic variables and the natural hazard, and these are depicted as red arrows in Fig. 1 (using the hazard ‘floods’ for illustration). The need for models arises because in many cases historical records of the natural hazards themselves are sparse, so that historical changes to the hazards need to be inferred from our understanding of changes to key causative processes. Therefore, models linking the climatic and meteorological variables (green circles, Fig. 1) to the hazards (blue circles, Fig. 1) often represent the primary line of evidence for how the hazards are affected by climate change. It is therefore critical to scrutinise the assumptions in the models, including decisions related to the processes that are included and the way they are represented, as this can have a significant influence on assessments of historical and future changes to the hazard.

There are also important interrelations between each of the natural hazards themselves (blue arrows, Fig. 1). For example, the prevalence of droughts can influence whether a catchment is wet or dry prior to a heavy rainfall event (linking drought and flood), whereas fires can influence the vegetation and soil properties of the catchment, and thus affect the conversion of rainfall to runoff (linking fire, drought and flood). In estuarine catchments, coastal processes including mean sea level and storm tides can combine with the fluvial flood to increase the overall flood hazard (linking sea level extremes with flood). These complex linkages between atmospheric/oceanic variables and the hazards highlight the need to take a consistent and unified approach to reviewing the evidence of change across all of the Australian natural hazards.

Given the complexity of the hazards and their causative mechanisms, this Special Issue therefore takes the following approach to reviewing historical and projected changes to Australian natural hazards:

  • Information on historical and projected changes in the hazards themselves (blue circles, Fig. 1) is covered in the relevant hazard paper. The models linking atmospheric and oceanic variables to that hazard are also covered in those papers (red lines, Fig. 1) as research into each hazard is typically informed by a hazard-specific set of models. Finally, the influence of other hazards on the topical hazard of each paper (blue lines, Fig. 1) is also covered; for example the presence of a drought can influence the catchment moisture stores, which is one of the factors that influence the flood hazard.

  • The atmospheric and oceanic variables (green circles, Fig. 1) are each covered in the most relevant natural hazard paper. A guide to where individual atmospheric and oceanic variables are covered is provided in Table 2.

    Table 2 Index of the atmospheric and oceanic variables that are described in each paper
  • The influence of large-scale patterns of climate variability that can influence Australian natural hazards are summarised in Table 1, with more detailed information provided in various Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report chapters, most notably the chapters by Christensen et al. (2013) and Hartmann et al. (2013).

Knowledge gaps and future research needs

This Special Issue documents our current understanding on historical and possible future climatic changes to the frequency and severity of Australian natural hazards. Although the science of detecting and attributing changes in the historical natural hazards—and developing projections of future changes—is progressing rapidly, a variety of knowledge gaps still exist. The authors of each paper have therefore identified research priorities for the hazard that would lead to a significant improvement in our collective understanding of the role of climate change in Australian natural hazards over a timeframe of about a decade.

Numerous suggestions for research priorities were common to many of the papers, including the need to revitalise our observational network to specifically monitor changes to the prevalence of Australia’s natural hazards. Similarly, increasing the resolution of our large-scale climate models (as well as including improved physics schemes to simulate certain processes such as tropical cyclones) continues to be a major priority, as it enables the inclusion of a greater number of scales within a single modelling framework. For many of the hazards, the role of paleo-climate data, which can assist in placing changes to natural hazards within a longer historical context, was also identified as a potential avenue for augmenting the often limited instrumental records.

There were also more specific suggestions that were unique to each hazard. Examples include the need for a unified framework to identify atmospheric heatwave events (Perkins-Kirkpatrick et al. 2016), and the need to better understand the role of alternative runoff-generating mechanisms and their relationship to future changes in flood risk (Johnson et al. 2016). In many cases the authors also called for better integration of research across different natural hazards; for example, the connections between drought and the land-atmosphere feedbacks that produce heatwaves (Kiem et al. 2016; Perkins-Kirkpatrick et al. 2016), and the link between coastal and inland processes in the context of flood hazard in estuarine regions (Johnson et al. 2016; McInnes et al. 2016).

Although most papers in this Special Issue highlighted the complexity and high levels of uncertainty of attributing historical changes in natural hazards and developing projections of future changes, there are grounds for optimism that the state of the science is improving. Land- and space-based remote sensing technology continues to yield data that enable investigations of change at increasing resolutions across the Australian continent; the increase in computing power and storage is leading to increasingly advanced models that can bridge a greater range of scales; and the increased information from the paleoclimate community is leading to improved understanding of how natural hazards have changed over long timescales. Furthermore, research into changes in natural hazards requires a focus on fostering interdisciplinary collaborations, and initiatives such as GEWEX and OzEWEX continue to serve the function of enhancing dialogue and collaborations between experts in diverse disciplines including meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, ecology, paleoclimatology, geography, engineering and statistics.

It is therefore hoped that, in addition to summarising the current state-of-the-science, this Special Issue will also provoke discussion and debate about future research priorities and directions. Only by taking a coordinated and strategic approach—one that accounts for the wide range of scales and processes that influence each hazard—will we be able to overcome the substantial scientific obstacles involved in understanding the nature and causes of historical and future changes to Australia’s natural hazards.

References

  1. Allen JT, Karoly DJ (2014) A climatology of Australian severe thunderstorm environments 1979–2011: inter-annual variability and ENSO influence. Int J Climatol 34:81–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Arblaster JM, Alexander LV (2012) The impact of the El Niño-Southern oscillation on maximum temperature extremes. Geophys Res Lett 30(15). doi:10.1029/2012GL053409

  3. Ashok K, Guan Z, Yamagata T (2003) Influence of the Indian Ocean Dipole on Australian winter rainfall. Geophys Res Lett 30(15). doi:10.1029/2003GL017926

  4. Ashok K, Behera SK, Suryachandra AR, Weng H, Yamagata T (2007a) El Nino Modoki and its possible teleconnection. J Geophys Res 112(C11007):1–27. doi:10.1029/2006JC003798

  5. Ashok K, Nakamura H, Yamagata T (2007b) Impacts of ENSO and Indian Ocean Dipole Events on the Southern Hemisphere Storm-Track Activity during Austral Winter. J Clim 20:3147–3163

  6. Ashok K, Tam C-Y, Lee W-J (2009) ENSO Modoki impact on the Southern Hemisphere storm track activity during extended austral winter. Geophys Res Lett 36(L12705):1–5. doi:10.1029/2009GL038847

  7. Boschat G, Pezza AB, Simmonds I, Perkins SE, Cowan T, Purich A (2015) Large scale and sub-regional connections in the lead up to summer heat wave and extreme rainfall events in eastern Australia. Clim Dyn 44:1823–1840

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bouwer LM (2011) Have disaster losses increased due to anthropogenic climate change? Bull Am Meteorol Soc 92:39–46

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Cai W, Cowan T (2006) SAM and regional rainfall in IPCC AR4 models: can anthropogenic forcing account for southwest Western Australian winter rainfall reduction? Geophys Res Lett 33:1–5

  10. Cai W, Cowan T (2008) Dynamics of late autumn rainfall reduction over southeastern Australia. Geophys Res Lett 35(L09708):1–5. doi:10.1029/2008GL033727

  11. Cai W, Cowan T (2009) La Nina Modoki impacts on Australia autumn rainfall variability. Geophys Res Lett 36:1–4

  12. Chand SS, Tory KJ, McBride JL, Wheeler MC, Dare RA, Walsh KJE (2013) The different impact of positive-neutral and negative-neutral ENSO regimes on Australian tropical cyclones. J Clim 26:8008–8016

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Chiew FHS, McMahon TA (2002) Global ENSO-streamflow teleconnection, streamflow forecasting and interannual variability. Hydrol Sci J 47:505–522

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Chiew FHS, Piechota TC, Dracup JA, McMahon TA (1998) El Nino / Southern Oscillation and Australian rainfall, straemflow and drought: Links and potential for forecasting. J Hydrol 204:138–149

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Christensen JH, Krishna Kumar K, Aldrian E, An S-I, Cavalcanti IFA, de Castro M, Dong W, Goswami P, Hall A, Kanyanga JK, Kitoh A, Kossin J, Lau N-C, Renwick J, Stephenson DB, Xie S-P, Zhou T (2013) Climate Phenomena and their Relevance for Future Regional Climate Change. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  16. Colberg F, McInnes KL (2012) The impact of future changes in weather patterns on extreme sea levels over southern Australia. J Geophys Res - Oceans 117(C08001):1–19. doi:10.1029/2012JC007919

  17. Crimp S, Bakar KS, Kokic P, Jin H, Nicholls N, Howden M (2015) Bayesian space-time model to analyse frost risk for agriculture in Southeast Australia. Int J Climatol 35:2092–2108

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Crimp SJ, Gobbett D, Kokic P, Nidumolu U, Howden M, Nicholls N (2016) Recent seasonal and long-term changes in southern Australian frost occurrence. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1763-5

  19. Diamond HJ, Renwick JA (2015) The climatological relationship between tropical cyclones in the southwest pacific and the Madden–Julian Oscillation. Int J Climatol 35:676–686

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Dowdy AJ, Mills GA, Timbal B, Wang Y (2013) Changes in the risk of extratropical cyclones in eastern Australia. J Clim 26:1403–1417

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. England MH, Ummenhofer CC, Santoso A (2006) Interannual rainfall extremes over southwest Western Australia linked to Indian Ocean climate variability. J Clim 19(10):1948–1969

  22. Frederiksen JS, Frederiksen CS (2007) Inter-decadal changes in Southern Hemisphere winter storm track modes. Tellus A 59:559–617

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Gallant A, Kiem AS, Verdon-Kidd DC, Stone RC, Karoly DJ (2012) Understanding hydroclimate processes in the Murray-Darling Basin for natural resource management. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 16:2049–2068

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Gillett NP, Kell TD, Jones PD (2006) Regional climate impacts of the southern annular mode. Geophys Res Lett 33:1–4

  25. Harley MD, Turner IL, Short AD, Ranasinghe R (2010) Interannual variability and controls of the Sydney wave climate. Int J Climatol 30:1322–1335

    Google Scholar 

  26. Harris S, Nicholls N, Tapper N (2014) Forecasting fire activity in Victoria, Australia, using antecedent climate variables and ENSO indices. Int J Wildland Fire 23:173–184

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Hartmann DL, Klein Tank AMG, Rusticucci M, Alexander LV, Brönnimann S, Charabi Y, Dentener FJ, Dlugokencky EJ, Easterling DR, Kaplan A, Soden BJ, Thorne PW, Wild M, Zhai PM (2013) Observations: Atmosphere and Surface. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA

  28. Hendon HH, Thompson DWJ, Wheeler MC (2007) Australian rainfall and surface temperature variations associated with the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode. J Clim 20:2452–2467

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Hendon HH, Lim EP, Nguyen H (2014) Seasonal variations of subtropical precipitation associated with the southern annular mode. J Clim 27:3446–3460

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Ho M, Kiem AS, Verdon-Kidd DC (2012) The Southern Annular Mode: a comparison of indices. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 16:967–982

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Hope P, Drosdowsky W, Nicholls N (2006) Shifts in synoptic systems influencing south west Western Australia. Clim Dyn 26:751–764

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Insurance Council of Australia (2013), Submission: Recent trends in and preparedeness for extreme weather events, pp 13, accessed from: http://www.insurancecouncil.com.au/assets/submission/011413_Senate%20Inquiry%20Extreme%20Weather%20%28FINAL%29.pdf

  33. IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, US

  34. Ishak EH, Rahman A, Westra S, Sharma A. Kuczera G (2013) Evaluating the non-stationarity of Australian annual maximum floods. J Hydrol 494:134–145

  35. Johnson F, White CJ, van Dijk A, Ekstrom M, Evans JP, Jakob D, Kiem AS, Leonard M, Rouillard A, Westra S (2016) Natural hazards in Australia: floods. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1689-y

  36. Jolly WM, Cochrane MA, Freeborn PH, Holden ZA, Brown TJ, Williamson GJ, Bowman DM (2015) Climate-induced variations in global wildfire danger from 1979 to 2013. Nat Commun 6:1-11

  37. Kiem AS, Franks SW (2004) Multi-decadal variability of drought flood risk, eastern Australia. Hydrol Process 18:2039–2050

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Kiem AS, Verdon-Kidd DC (2010) Towards understanding hydroclimatic chagne in Victoria, Australia - preliminary insights into the “Big Dry”. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 14:433–445

  39. Kiem AS, Verdon-Kidd DC (2013) The importance of understanding drivers of hydroclimatic variability for robust flood risk planning in the coastal zone. Aust J Water Resour 17:126–134

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Kiem AS, Franks SW, Kuczera G (2003) Multi-decadal variability of flood risk. Geophys Res Lett 30:1–4

  41. Kiem AS, Johnson F, Westra S, van Dijk A, Evans JP, O’Donnell A, Rouillard A, Barr C, Tyler J, Thyer M, Jakob D, Woldemeskel F, Sivakumar B, Mehrotra R (2016) Natural hazards in Australia: droughts. Clim Chang

  42. Kounkou R, Mills G, Timbal B (2009) A reanalysis climatology of cool‐season tornado environments over southern Australia. Int J Climatol 29:2079–2090

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Kuleshov Y, Qi L, Fawcett R, Jones D (2008) On tropical cyclone activity in the Southern Hemisphere: Trends and the ENSO connection. Geophys Res Lett 35:1–5

  44. Leonard M, Westra S, Phatak A, Lambert M, van den Hurk B, McInnes K, Risbey J, Schuster S, Jakob C, Stafford-Smith M (2014) A compound event framework for understanding extreme impacts. WIREs Climat Chang 5:113–128

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Liu KS, Chan JC (2012) Interannual variation of Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone activity and seasonal forecast of tropical cyclone number in the Australian region. Int J Climatol 32:190–202

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Marshall AG, Hudson D, Wheeler MC, Alves O, Hendon HH, Pook MJ, Risbey JS (2013) Intra-seasonal drivers of extreme heat over Australia in observations and POAMA-2. Clim Dyna 43:1915–1937

  47. McInnes KL, White CJ, Haigh ID, Hemer MA, Hoeke RK, Holbrook N, Kiem AS, Oliver ECJ, Ranasinghe R, Walsh KJE, Westra S, Cox R (2016) Natural hazards in Australia: sea level and coastal extremes. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1647-8

  48. Meneghini B, Simmonds I, Smith IN (2007) Association between Australian rainfall and the Southern Annular Mode. Int J Climatol 27:109–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Meyers GA, McIntosh PC, Pigot L, Pook MJ (2007) The years of El Nino, La Nina, and interactions with the tropical Indian Ocean. J Clim 20:2872–2880

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Micevski T, Franks SW, Kuczera G (2006) Multidecadal variability in coastal eastern Australian flood data. J Hydrol 327:219–225

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Min SK, Cai W, Whetton P (2013) Influence of climate variability on seasonal extremes over Australia. J Geophys Res-Atmos 41:643–654

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Munich Re (2014) Topics Geo - Natural Catastrophes 2014: analyses, assessments, positions. Munich Reinsurance Company Rep., p 67, accessed from https://www.munichre.com/site/mram-mobile/get/documents_E-1601714186/mram/assetpool.mr_america/PDFs/3_Publications/Topics_Geo_2014.pdf

  53. Murphy BF, Timbal B (2008) A review of recent climate variability and climate change in southeastern Australia. Int J Climatol 28:859–879

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Neumayer E, Barthel F (2011) Normalising economic loss from natural disasters: A global analysis. Glob Environ Chang 21:13–24

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Nicholls N (1989) Sea surface temperatures and Australian winter rainfall. J Clim 2:965–973

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Nicholls N (2010) Local and remote causes of the southern Australian autumn-winter rainfall decline, 1958–2007. Clim Dyna 34:835–845

  57. O’Donnell AJ, Cook ER, Palmer JG, Turney CS, Page GR, Grierson PF (2015) Tree-rings show recent summer-autumn precipitation in semi-arid northwest Australia is unprecedented within the last two centuries. PloS one 10, 1-18

  58. O’Grady JG, McInnes KL, Colberg F, Hemer MA, Babanin AV (2015) Longshore wind, waves and currents: climate and climate projections at Ninety Mile Beach, southeastern Australia. Int J Climatol 35(14):4079–4093

  59. Parker TJ, Berry GJ, Reeder MJ, Nicholls N (2014) Modes of climate variability and heat waves in Victoria, southeastern Australia. Geophys Res Lett 41:6926–6934

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Perkins SE, Argüeso D, White CJ (2015) Relationships between climate variability, soil moisture and Australian heatwaves. J Geophys Res 120:8144–8164

    Google Scholar 

  61. Perkins-Kirkpatrick SE, White CJ, Alexander LV, Argueso D, Boschat G, Cowan T, Evans JP, Ekstrom M, Oliver ECJ, Phatak A, Purich A (2016) Natural hazards in Australia: heatwaves. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1650-0

  62. Pezza AB, Simmonds I, Renwick JA (2007) Southern Hemisphere cyclones and anticyclones: Recent trends and links with decadal variability in the Pacific Ocean. Int J Climatol 27:1403–1420

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Pezza AB, Durrant T, Simmonds I, Smith I (2008) Southern Hemisphere Synoptic Behavior in Extreme Phases of SAM, ENSO, Sea Ice Extent, and Southern Australia Rainfall. J Clim 21:5566–5584

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Power S, Casey T, Folland C, Colman A, Mehta V (1999) Inter-decadal modulation of the impact of ENSO on Australia. Clim Dyn 15:319–324

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Power S, Haylock M, Colman R, Wang X (2006) The predictability of interdecadal changes in ENSO activity and ENSO teleconnections. J Clim 19:4755–4771

  66. Pui A, Lall A, Sharma A (2011) How does the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation affect design floods in Australia? Water Resour Res 47(W05554):1–13. doi:10.1029/2010WR009420

  67. Ranasinghe R, McLoughlin R, Short A, Symonds G (2004) The Southern Oscillation Index, wave climate, and beach rotation. Mar Geol 204:273–287

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Risbey J, McIntosh P, Pook M (2009a) Characteristics and variability of synoptic features associated with cool season rainfall in southeastern Australia. Int J Climatol 29:1595–1613

  69. Risbey J, Pook M, McIntosh P, Wheeler M, Hendon H (2009b) On the remote drivers of rainfall variability in Australia. Mon Weather Rev 137:3233–3253

  70. Saji NH, Goswami BN, Vinayachandran PN, Yamagata T (1999) A dipole mode in the tropical Indian Ocean. Nature 401:360–363

    Google Scholar 

  71. Schuster S (ed) (2013) Natural hazards and insurance. John Wiley and Sons, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  72. Sharples J, Cary G, Fox-Hughes P, Mooney S, Evans JP, Fletcher M-S, Fromm M, Baker P, Grierson P, McRae R (2016) Natural hazards in Australia: extreme bushfire. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1811-1

  73. Stone RC, Nicholls N, Hammer G (1996) Frost in notheast Australia: trends and influences of phases of the Southern Oscillation. J Clim 9:1896–1909

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Taschetto AS, England MH (2009) El Nino Modoki impacts on Australian rainfall. J Clim 22:3167–3174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Taschetto AS, Ummenhofer CC, Sen Gupta A, England MH (2009) Effect of anomalous warming in the central Pacific on the Australian monsoon. Geophys Res Lett 36(L12704):1–5. doi:10.1029/2008GL036801

  76. Ummenhofer CC, England MH, McIntosh PC, Meyers GA, Pook MJ, Risbey JS, Sen Gupta A, Taschetto AS (2009) What causes southeast Australia’s worst droughts? Geophys Res Lett 36(L04706)1–5. doi:10.1029/2008GL036801

  77. van Dijk AIJM, Beck HE, Crosbie RS, de Jeu RAM, Liu YY, Podger GM, Timbal B, Viney NR (2013) The millenium drought in southeast Australia (2001–2009): National and human causes and implications for water resources, ecosystems, economy and society. Water Resour Res 49:1–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Verdon DC, Franks SW (2005) Indian Ocean sea surface temperature variability and winter rainfall: eastern Australia. Water Resour Res 41(9):1–10

  79. Verdon DC, Kiem AS, Franks SW (2004a) Multi-decadal variability of forest fire risk - eastern Australia. Int J Wildland Fire 13:165–171

  80. Verdon DC, Wyatt AM, Kiem AS, Franks SW (2004b) Multidecadal variability of rainfall and streamflow: Eastern Australia. Water Resour Res 40(W10201):1–8. doi:10.1029/2004WR003234

  81. Walsh K, White CJ, McInnes K, Holmes J, Schuster S, Richter H, Evans JP, Di Luca A, Warren RA (2016) Natural hazards in Australia: storms, wind and hail. Clim Chang. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1737-7

  82. Ward PJ, Jongman B, Kummu M, Dettinger MD, Weiland FCS, Winsemius HC (2014) Strong influence of El Nino Southern Oscillation on flood risk around the world. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111:15659–15664

    Article  Google Scholar 

  83. Westra S, Renard B, Thyer M (2015) The ENSO-precipitation teleconnection and its modulation by the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. J Clim 28:4753–4773

    Article  Google Scholar 

  84. White CJ, Hudson D, Alves O (2013) ENSO, the IOD and intraseasonal prediction of heat extremes across Australia using POAMA-2. Clim Dyn 43:1791–1810

    Article  Google Scholar 

  85. White NJ, Haigh ID, Church JA, Keon T, Watson CS, Pritchard T, Watson PJ, Burgette RJ, Eliot M, McInnes KL, You B, Zhang X, Tregoning P (2014) Australian Sea Levels - Trends, Regional Variability and Influencing Factors. Earth Sci Rev 136:155–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  86. Williams AAJ, Karoly DJ (1999) Extreme fire weather in Australia and the impact of the El Nino Southern Oscillation. Aust Meteorol Mag 48:15–22

    Google Scholar 

  87. Yeo CS (2005) Severe thunderstorms in the Brisbane region and a relationship to the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Aust Meteorol Mag 54:197

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Seth Westra.

Additional information

This article is part of a Special Issue on “The effect of historical and future climate changes on natural hazards in Australia” edited by Seth Westra, Chris White and Anthony Kiem.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Westra, S., White, C.J. & Kiem, A.S. Introduction to the special issue: historical and projected climatic changes to Australian natural hazards. Climatic Change 139, 1–19 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1826-7

Download citation