Traditionally, the chance of climate related emergencies (e.g. floods, bushfires) occurring has been considered the same from one year to the next. However, recent research has highlighted the fact that this is definitely not the case. Analysis has revealed strong relationships between the El Niño/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the occurrence of climate related emergencies, especially in eastern Australia. In addition, climatological studies have also revealed multi-decadal epochs of distinct climate states across eastern Australia. Within these multi-decadal epochs significant variability exists in the magnitude and frequency of ENSO impacts resulting in elevated (or reduced depending on the climate state) risk of extreme events such as floods, bushfires and droughts. Given that ENSO events can now be detected several months prior to their peakimpact period, the opportunity exists to use climate variability insights to more accurately predict the chance of climate related emergencies occurring in the forthcoming season or year. Understanding of climate mechanisms that deliver high risk periods allows optimisation of emergency responses and effective management and mitigation of the disasters that occur as a result of the naturally occurring climate extremes for which Australia is renowned.
|Number of pages
|Australian Journal of Emergency Management
|Published - 1 Jan 2006