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Cyclone, flood forecasts up the ante on mitigation

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IAG has warned that tropical cyclones will move further south due to climate change, affecting densely populated areas of the eastern Australian coastline and raising the importance of mitigation action.

“To safeguard these communities now and into the future, there needs to be greater investment across all sectors to reduce the financial and physical burden as the climate warms,” IAG EM Natural Perils Mark Leplastrier says in a statement accompanying the release of a new report between the insurer and the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The report, Severe Weather in a Changing Climate, highlights property risk perils at regional and local levels.

Cyclones are forecast to become a greater risk for southeast Queensland and northeast NSW, urban areas face more flooding due to intense rainfall, and large-sized hail risks will particularly increase in an area from the Hunter River through to the southern NSW Highlands, as well as in parts of Victoria including Melbourne.

The report also examines the rising risks from bushfires and the impact on coastal buildings and infrastructure from rising sea levels.

“Many personal, government and business decisions require information on climate and weather extremes at more local scales, such as states, cities and towns,” the report says.

“This assessment therefore incorporates a review of the extensive related literature, together with expert judgement on potential local impacts.”

The research is based on the latest climate data and extreme weather event predictions, based on a range of warming temperatures, up to 3 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times.

“We need to invest more as a nation to better protect communities,” Mr Leplastrier said. “This includes adequate land planning and building codes to ensure our infrastructure is able to withstand extreme weather, especially for cyclone and flood-prone regions.”

IAG and NCAR are currently working on a joint project to apply the latest climate modelling to better understand how tropical cyclones will change in the future.

The work will be released through peer-reviewed journal articles next year.