Environmental Impacts of Tropical Cyclones in Australia

Environmental Impacts of Tropical Cyclones in Australia


Cyclones have bee of much effect to the environmental aspect in Australia. A cyclone refers to an intense low pressure system, which occurs during the summer season near north Australia. Cyclones form over the warm tropical waters. Considerably, it is evident that these cyclones are accompanied by high winds and heavy rainfall. There major effect is destruction of human activities and natural environment. Cyclones have been of major impact in the coastal regions of Australia. Moreover, they stand out to be called various names like hurricanes in the north Atlantic, while in the north Pacific they are called typhoons. Tropical cyclones may last as long as three weeks and they can be as short as 2 days. The impact or effect of tropical cyclones in Australia can be explored through the observation of the various factors arising from their occurrence.


Firstly, Australia has faced environmental effects of cyclones that result on agriculture. Tropical cyclone disasters seriously affect lowland agriculture and coastal fisheries in particular. In Australia, the total area of lowland, swamp, and wet land is 25 million actress, about 1 acre of are of arable land of the whole country. The tropical cyclone prevailing time just meets the key period for crops growth in Australia. Therefore, every landing tropical cyclone causes disasters on large areas of crop land and decrease output of grains. Besides direct effects of tropical cyclones on agriculture, some indirect damages can also be made. These include serious instruction of water conservancy projects, soil-salinization, and increased incidence of insects` pest after tropical invasion. Tropical cyclones, rainstorms, and tides often bring about severe influence on the agriculture and fisheries (Book 2008).

Tropical cyclones range in intensity from comparatively weak systems, where maximum wind speeds do not generally exceed the average wind speed, extremely destructive, where maximum winds gust have been recorded above the average wind speed. Severe cyclones cause wide spread effect of rainforest canopy trees, and withdrawal of vines along the breakage of crown stem and linked to tree falls. These disaster impacts mainly result in considerable changes in forest climate in the understory and canopy. Cyclonic disturbance in Australia has been shown to accelerate invasion by exotic trees species, leading to decline in biodiversity in native trees. Tropical cyclones play a significant role in the synoptic meteorology and catchment hydrology of the wet tropics region. Planting of native trees in Australia including limiting exotic species that are affected by the changing climate patterns is likely to reduce the dangers or impacts of the tropical cyclones (Johnson 106).

Over the past 20 years three significant tropical cyclones impacted on the forest ecosystems of north-east Australia. Impacts of tropical cyclones have on forest at the landscape scale are the result of the complex of interaction of anthropogenic, meteorological, topographical, and biotic factors. Given that no cyclone is identical to another in terms of intensity, radius of maximum winds, forward speed, and direction of movement, it is impossible to generalize beyond the general factors. Global warming is predicted to increase the intensity of tropical by 10-20% by the end of the twenty first century, while cyclone frequency is predicted to remain unchanged. Two aspects that lead to more considerable tropical cyclones and water vapor have both upsurges over the past many years in Australia. This is primarily because of human practices like combustion of fossil fuels and clearing of forests which have significantly elevated carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. This is a considerable threat to environment as the people in Australia are limited to the levels of oxygen. Therefore, planting trees and maintaining abundance in vegetation growth will reduce exposure to tropical cyclones. Moreover, trees act as wind breakers, thus will avoid major effects of the cyclones to constructions.

Tropical cyclones are significant disturbance phenomena on buildings and construction. Tropical cyclones can be the most dangerous and deadly storms on earth. They are usually very mobile and relatively unpredictable. The main dangers to people and property arise from three distinct hazards: violent winds, storm waves and surges, and torrential rain. Some people have blamed cyclones for the species troubles, but this reject the hundreds of years, which brush warblers survived cyclones on Rodrigues before people arrived. However, as people cleared the forests from Rodrigues, the small patches of trees could not provide the same protection from cyclones as a more expansive forest cover. The effects of cyclones on Rodrigues are probably more severe, since the native plant communities were removed. People cannot change the course of cyclones or prevent them from happening. They can, however, reduce the devastation of cyclones by restoring the forest communities. Some minor steps have been taken on Rodrigues (Dugan 1996).

Environmental issues regarding cyclones in Australia have been largely involved with the intensity of the winds blowing at great speeds. High wind waves damage buildings that belong to various people in the Australian community. Destruction of houses especially during the summer season has resulted from the impacts of cyclones in Australia. Constructions including organizational stands have experienced a great impact that has led to the destruction of millions of properties from constructions that have been destroyed by cyclones in the region. The vulnerability of the nation is due to its geographical location and with the irregular coastline. The cyclones are greatly increased with the increased rate of precipitation and thus loss of environmental property and life is likely to be the result. Disturbance of communication network is a considerable environmental aspect that has been greatly affected. During the seasons of cyclones the communication system faces a great threat. Electricity poles in Australia connecting the electric power are paralyzed resulting to power shortage. Moreover, roads have been affected by the cyclones that impact in sweeping vehicles with help from the high rains in the season.

Considerably, roads and bridges have been cut in Australia due to the effects of cyclones. Cyclones are intense low pressure system, which occur during the summer season near north Australia. Cyclones form over the warm tropical waters and bridges are relatively diverse as a form of connecting in areas divided by water bodies. However, the intensity of the cyclones in Australia has resulted to the breaking of this network. This is the same case with the rail transport in the country that has faced considerable discrimination from the cyclones (Johnson 2004).

Loss of plants and animal species is a common aspect associated with the impacts of cyclones in the environment. Various native plants have faced extinction because of the pressures they are exposed to by cyclones in Australia. Moreover, they have led to the extinction of several tourism attracting animals from the country that is one of the core destination of tourist globally. Therefore, environmental impacts of cyclones are severe and require proper and efficient mitigation with reliable warning systems to reduce the rate of loss and disaster impacted (Book 2008). Avoiding tropical cyclones and their effects follows on the mitigation process and taking into consideration the warnings that are given in advance.

The effects of cyclones on the environment can be observed from their impact on the coral reefs, continental shelf, and the coasts. Severe erosion by waves and storm currents at the coastline of Australia as the cyclone moves towards the shores rises. At landfall on the eastern coast of Australia, damage is generally most severe on the southern side where the winds impact the coast from offshore. On the northern side the winds blow offshore at landfall. As the eye of the cyclone passes there is a lure, and the cyclonic winds resume from the opposite direction. The cyclone creates a storm surge that pushes the waters above the normal levels and floods result. The storm surge has also caused extension erosion and deposited storm ridges of rock and coral gravel above normal tide levels. Extensive flooding and discharge of sediment ensues from the coastal rivers and streams as the cyclonic moves inland and very heavy rain falls. This has caused land degradation through soil erosion in Australia (Johnson 2004).


In conclusion, the environmental impacts of cyclones in Australia have resulted to loss of biodiversity, animals and plant species, property destruction, loss of soil fertility, and general constructional destructions on human activities. In Northern Australia cyclones occur mainly in the months of December to march, and generally start when the monsoon trough moves southwards over New Guinea and Indonesia during the Southern Hemisphere summer. A low-pressure cell separates from the monsoon trough to the southwards, and then eastwards or westwards. While passing over the tropical waters, water transport is likely to be affected. Cargo ships and other sailors including fishermen in the waters have been submerged due to the intensity of these winds.

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