Storms, wind, and hail do plenty of damage to Australians and their property. The 1999 Sydney hailstorm, as an example, cost A$1.7 billion in insured losses. That makes it the biggest single insurance loss in Australian history; in today’s money, it would have cost over A$4 billion.

More recently, one of the most severe storms in decades caused a statewide blackout in South Australia in September. The intense low-pressure system featured seven tornadoes that tore down 3 major transmission lines.

Our understanding of wind and hail depends on the sort of storm that generates them – and this is where it gets complicated. Thunderstorms can generate not simply heavy rainfall but also high winds, lightning, and hail, albeit in terribly localized areas. Large-scale storms like tropical cyclones are a distinct phenomenon altogether, bringing not just harmful winds, but also storm surges and soaking rains, often over wide areas.

Flash
Photo by Josep Castells / Unsplash

This complexity makes storms difficult to study since restricted research resources are spread across the numerous different storm varieties and their associated hazards.

To help address these problems, we compared and reviewed the newest knowledge and understanding of storms in Australia, covering the current scientific literature on the assessment, causes, observed trends and future projected changes of storm hazards, with a particular concentrate on severe wind and hail. We found that progress has been made in many areas, but also that much remains to be done.

Are we obtaining more or fewer storms?

In short - we tend to don’t perceive confidently. Despite the severity of the impacts wrought by storms, there's limited observational information for some forms of storms and their associated hazards, particularly for the estimation of hail and wind.

Current estimates of the hail hazard in Australia, as an example, are available solely from the Bureau of Meteorology’s severe storm archive, which suffers from massive uncertainties related to biases and changing reporting practices. This makes it unsuitable for assessing the climatology of hail storms on a national scale.

Similarly, problems like changes to Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) and limited records of air pressure observations, have hampered efforts to develop high-quality surface wind datasets across Australia. vocalizer may need to be been right once he told the United States “you don’t need a weatherman to understand which way the wind blows,” but then, again he didn’t win his Nobel prize for meteorology.

hail
Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann / Unsplash

European researchers have analyzed hailstorm trends using networks of devices known as “hail pads”. However, these records don't exist in Australia, and then there's a big gap in our knowledge regarding hailstorm histories and trends.

The projections of future wind hazards in and around Australia are equally restricted and differ from region to region. as an example, in the tropics, research suggests that extreme wind hazards could decrease in the future, though confidence in this prediction is low. Meanwhile, summer wind increases are potential in those parts of Australia that are subjected to East Coast Lows.

We additionally don’t recognize what to expect from future severe thunderstorms, and while research suggests that they may become more frequent in southeastern Australia, there's a wide range of uncertainty around this projection.

For future trends in hail, once more there are solely some studies currently available, however, there's at least a sign of increases in hail frequency in southeastern regions.

But whereas the image is incredibly unsure for now, we hope this uncertainty is going to be reduced with the assistance of enhancements in both the observation and computational modeling of storms and their associated hazards. we tend to are growing additional assured in our predictions for tropical cyclones, prognostication that the general range can decline, however, that the strongest storms can grow stronger still.

Additionally, we hope to improve our understanding of severe thunderstorms by using remote sensing platforms to record hail and extreme wind events right across Australia. These include the GPATS lightning-detection network, the new Himawari-8 and 9 satellites, and the Bureau of Meteorology’s soon-to-be upgraded radar network. Validation of these techniques, of course, will also need high-quality direct observations of these severe weather conditions – the thing we currently lack.