From monster waves to giant hail in a year of extremes
Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms swept across Brisbane this week, but Springfield residents can expect a mostly sunny weekend in the low 30s, with light winds and an extremely high UV rating.
Most of us want to forget about 2020, but some interesting bouts of extreme weather in Queensland are worth reflecting on.
For instance, the highest ever sea surface temperature was recorded on the Great Barrier Reef in February, causing bleaching in 60 per cent of reefs.
Brisbane's rainfall came predominantly from storms during a year of below average rainfall.
October was an especially active month for thunderstorms, with around 300,000 lightning strikes, 120 downed power lines and 44,500 southeast Queensland homes without power.
The end of October saw torrential rainfall and monster hailstones of 14cm in Brisbane's south.
According to the Insurance Council of Australia, this caused an estimated $60 million worth of damage.
To wrap up the year, monster 11m waves battered the southeast Queensland coast in December, and winds of 113km per hour were measured in Moreton Bay.
The Queensland Government declared eight 'states of disaster' throughout 2020 as a result of extreme weather events.
Severe weather events are likely to become more frequent in years to come.
This is certainly true for reef bleaching events, which have long-lasting impacts on the marine ecosystem.
Dr David Wachenfeld, chief scientist at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, said the recent bleaching events were "like nothing we've ever seen before" and are a "serious impact of climate change".
"They're much bigger and much more severe and ... cause a much greater amount of mortality than we've seen before," Dr Wachenfeld says.
"We are talking about millions upon millions of corals throughout the marine park being stressed and bleaching, and many of those dying."
Community voices like Dr David Wachenfeld's tell us how residents and business owners in Brisbane feel about their local climate. If you would like to contribute your voice to our column, you can fill out our 5-minute survey here.
Dr Christa Pudmenzky is a climate scientist at the University of Southern Queensland.
This column is part of a collaboration between Monash University and News Corp to deliver hyperlocal weather and climate information.
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Originally published as From monster waves to giant hail, 2020 was another year of extremes for Queensland