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Australian Geography Tropical Cyclones Essay

1688 words - 7 pages

Describe the geographical processes associated with the natural hazard:Tropical cyclones may affect four Australian states. The two most commonly affected states are Queensland and Western Australia. The Northern Territory is affected by cyclones very occasionally. New South Wales on very rare occasions may feel the affects of a cyclone. The majority of Australian cyclones form off the NW coast of Australia in the Indian Ocean, or off the NE coast in the Coral Sea . The Arafura Sea off the NW of the Northern Territory may also see the formation of cyclones but not to the same degree as the latter two areas.Australia's most famous cyclone, Cyclone Tracy did form in that area. The only other area that cyclones form is in the Gulf of Carpentaria. It is formed by a natural force called El Ninò which pushes Tropical Cyclone development further eastwards in the Coral Sea / Pacific ocean. This means that it has less affect over the semi enclosed waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria.New South Wales is the only other state to see Cyclones. For NSW they are a rare visitor and usually have weakened by this stage. The Northern Rivers and Mid North Coasts are affected more by flooding rains rather than destructive winds. Once a cyclone moves this far south there is often severe isobar compression between it and high pressure cells to the south. This leads to a vigorous onshore feed that can bring inches of rain. A broad band of strong to gale force winds also develops leading to large ocean swells that can cause problems.The entire Queensland coastline is open to tropical cyclones. Generally the more stronger destructive cyclones cross the Queensland coast between Cooktown and Rockhampton. The coast between Townsville and Mackay is particularly at risk because of its more NW - SE direction. The last destructive cyclone to cross the Queensland coast was Cyclone Aivu in April 1989 which crossed the coast south of Townsville near the towns of Ayr and Home Hill. The winds were close to 200 km/h.Describe the economic, environmental, and social impacts of the natural hazard in Australia:On 20 December 1974 the U.S. Environmental Satellite ESSA-8 recorded a large cloud mass centered in the Arafura Sea. The meteorological duty officer at the time, Geoff Crane, issued an initial tropical cyclone alert describing the storm as a tropical low that could develop into a tropical cyclone.The storm was officially pronounced a tropical cyclone at around 10pm on December 21, when it was around 700 km northeast of Darwin. Over the next few days it moved in a south west direction, passing north of Darwin on December 22. A broadcast on ABC Radio that day stated that Cyclone Tracy posed no immediate threat to Darwin. However early in the morning of December 24, Tracy rounded Cape Fourcroy (the western tip of Bathurst Island) and moved in a south-easterly direction, straight towards Darwin.By late afternoon, the city was heavily overcast with a low cloud and it was experiencing...

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