Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Researchers keen for earlier warning of violent storms

By Sam Burgess, Wednesday July 24, 2013 - 09:43 EST

Predicting violent storms days in advance could become a reality, with Australian researchers looking into the possibility.

Melbourne's Monash University and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) have teamed up to develop mathematical models that could give the public advanced knowledge of storms, such as the 'inland tsunami' that killed 19 people in the Lockyer Valley in 2011 or Melbourne's Christmas Day super-cell that same year.

Queensland climatologist Roger Stone says they want a better understanding of the early warning signs.

"All the underlying factors are sitting there in the atmosphere maybe a day beforehand, maybe even longer, two days beforehand," he said.

During the drought of the late 2000s, a team of Queensland researchers was investigating the potential of cloud seeding or artificially creating rain.

Professor Stone, who was one of the researchers, says the data collected during that period could now be used to give forecasters a more accurate picture of how and when destructive storms occur.

He says supercomputers in the US that processed the information have inadvertently discovered some surprising evidence.

"Found this remarkable new capability to better understand more about these big cells that surprisingly wasn't that well known beforehand," he said.

USQ and Monash are now trying to develop a modelling system based on the data.

Insurer Suncorp is supporting the research.


© ABC 2013

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Canberra dust storm sees more than 1,000 homes lose power

16:22 EDT

High winds have caused more than 1,000 homes in Canberra to lose power and whipped a dusty haze over the city.

Cyclone Marcus: Darwin residents emerge to survey the damage

16:13 EDT

Darwin residents have entered clean-up mode after the strongest cyclone to hit the city in 30 years caused widespread destruction.

Tropical Cyclone Marcus: Darwin schools to close as clean-up continues

16:01 EDT

Schools across Darwin will close tomorrow as emergency services work to restore power and water in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Marcus.