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An index to assess the propensity of landfall in Australia of a tropical cyclone
Every year, Australian oceans experience the genesis of many tropical cyclones (TCs). About 40 percent of these make landfall. Because of the enormous difference in impacts between landfalling and non-landfalling TCs on coastal communities, the benefits would be enormous if it were possible to capture early the potentiality of landfall of a TC that has undergone genesis. Published literature identifies many factors such as location, warm sea surface temperature above 26 degrees C, conditional instability and high relative humidity in the middle troposphere and low vertical wind shear for the genesis of cyclones. Some of these factors could hold information about the potentiality of landfall while a TC is forming. An investigation into these factors actually revealed that a Landfall Potential Index (LPI) can be developed that can capture the potentiality of making a landfall. An attractive feature of this index is that it uses values at the time and location of genesis, providing a long and useful lead time. Furthermore, it is made into a dimensionless number, which makes for easy comprehension and interpretation.