Research leader

Harald Richter
Dr Harald Richter Research Leader

Research team

Beth Ebert Research Team
Jeff Kepert
Dr Jeff Kepert Research Team
Craig Arthur Research Team
Martin Wehner Research Team
Mark Edwards
Mark Edwards Research Team
Russell Hay Research Team
Dr Jane Sexton Research Team
Shoni Maguire Research Team
Serena Schroeter Research Team
Claire Krause Research Team

End User representatives

Roger Mentha End-User
Steven Hadley End-User
David Grant End-User
Simon Louis End-User
Paul Bierman End-User
Steve Gray End-User
Oliver Smith End-User
Tony Day End-User
Brian Foo End-User
Graeme Wynwood End-User
Andrew Stark
Andrew Stark End-User
Tamsin Achilles End-User
Steven Hayes End-User

This new project began in July 2017. It will investigate the development of a pilot capability to make useful predictions of community impacts of extreme weather, improving timely mitigation actions. This pilot project will focus on hydro-meteorological events impacting eastern Australia – events in areas where most of our population is concentrated, particularly the coastal regions of southern Queensland, New South Wales and eastern Victoria. These events, which include East Coast Lows, can occur at any time during the year, with gale or storm force winds damaging coastal areas, widespread rain often causing flooding, and very rough seas and prolonged heavy swells damaging the coastline.

Currently, hazard forecasts in Australia are based on meteorological analysis of many data sources (numerical weather prediction models, satellite and radar observations), which is combined with local knowledge, and informed by years of experience issuing and verifying forecasts. Up until recently, forecasts have been general in nature, due in part to uncertainty of forecast accuracy and the short lead time. But there has been substantial improvements in forecast accuracy over the last couple of decades, and the availability of higher and higher resolution models means that the potential for more specific forecasts is ever increasing.

Impact may be qualified and/or quantified by integrating hazard forecasts with data about community vulnerability, exposure to the hazard and localised damage models. The issue of variable quality data will be explored with the nature of the impact-based forecasts to be determined according to available data and end-user needs.

Impact-based warnings could be developed by integrating specific (both spatial and temporal) hazard forecasts with exposure and vulnerability data at the community level. The capability to develop impact assessments has been applied generally within the natural hazard risk modelling community, however the ability to develop such assessments within a forecasting and warning process currently does not exist in Australia. The recent advances in weather forecasting as described above suggest that useful impact-based warnings are now a real possibility.

End-users, especially the operational emergency management stakeholders, may want to understand many things from an impact-based forecast, such as:

  • When and where the impacts will occur?
  • Who and what might be affected?
  • How badly will they be affected?
  • Who most urgently needs assistance (and who can help themselves)?
  • What are the possible cascading effects (e.g., landslides)?

While it may be some time before an impact prediction capability can specify all this information with sufficient precision, accuracy and reliability to be included as a stand-alone forecast element in addition to current practice, there is an existing capability that could be integrated into an operational forecast that has the potential to greatly improve the quality and local relevance of hazard forecasts.

Year Type Citation
2020 Report Richter, H. et al. Impact-based forecasting for the coastal zone – East Coast Lows: annual report 2019-2020. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2020).
2019 Conference Paper Zovko-Rajak, D., Tory, K. J. & Kepert, J. A case study of South Australia's severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak . AFAC19 powered by INTERSCHUTZ - Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Forum (Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, 2019). at <>
2019 Conference Paper Richter, H. et al. The physical impact of strong winds and heavy rain on residential housing: a pilot study. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Day AFAC19 (2019). at <Research in the social science area have pointed out that "traditional" hazard-based forecasts and warnings may not be well understood so that mitigating actions for the protection of life and property are not taken (Demuth et al. 2012). The extension of >
2019 Report Richter, H. et al. Impact-Based Forecasting for the Coastal Zone: East Coast Lows- Annual Report 2017/2018. Impact Based Forecasting for the Coastal Zone: East Coast Low 1-28 (2019).
2018 Conference Paper Richter, H. et al. Impact-based forecasting for the coastal zone. AFAC18 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2018 Conference Paper Bates, J. Research proceedings from the 2018 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2017 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2017 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
Impact forecasting: what does the forecast mean?
29 Jun 2017
This project will develop a pilot capability to predict impacts of extreme wind and rainfall on the built...
Impact-based forecasting for the coastal zone
19 Sep 2018
Developing a pilot capability to estimate the impacts of East Coast Low hazards on the built environment,...
27 Aug 2019
To develop a pilot capability for making useful predictions of community impacts of extreme wind & rain...