Everything You Need to Know About: Weather

Written By
Aimee Feldman

Recent flooding and severe weather in South East Queensland sadly resulted in the difficult decision to cancel all in-person World Science Festival Brisbane 2022 events.

Data from the Bureau of Meteorology revealed a string of broken records from the flooding rain in Queensland in March.

The impacts of flooding at Queensland Museum, Queensland Cultural Centre and across South Bank Parklands, and the personal impact to some our incredible participants and staff, meant we weren’t able to reschedule our main program of events.

However, thanks to our incredible festival team they’ve managed to reimagine a number of events into a digital format that will transcend borders.

One of these events is Everything You Need to Know About: Weather, featuring Channel Seven’s weather expert Tony Auden.

We know at this crucial time many people have lots of questions about the wild weather so we’ve asked Tony to help explain this phenomenon and is there a chance this could happen again?


The 2022 floods through southeast Queensland and along much of the New South Wales coast are just another reminder of how severe weather events can significantly impact our lives.

This event was caused by an upper low combining with a surface trough. It doesn’t sound as “dangerous” as say a tropical cyclone, but in this case it can have much bigger impacts.

The reason this system was so dangerous? A combination of intense rain, but also the fact that it was slow moving.. the rain fell over the same area for a long period of time.

Forecasting this event was tricky. One global model picked heavy rain early, hinting at widespread flooding, almost a week before it happened. Other models kept the rain near the coast in a less dangerous scenario.

Once the rain started falling it was clear that anything was possible.

The rain was so intense, that I stopped talking about rain totals, but rather the amount of time left for the it to fall.

Some forecast models were predicting up to 900mm of rain in just a 36 hour period. I’d never seen this before, and it was hard to confidently forecast such high numbers, but I still had to communicate the risk if it did happen.

As it was, very intense rainfall did fall, with a number of spots recording over 1000mm for this event, and a lot of that rain fell below Wivenhoe Dam, worsening the river flood in Brisbane.

Thankfully the weather has settled down now, but we now have a significant cleanup, and a lot to learn from this event for a weather forecasting, and flood forecasting, point of view.


Everything You Need to Know About: Weather will be livestreamed for free at 8pm (AEST) on Thursday 10 March.  Visit the event page to find out more.


Image: Storm clouds over a gibber plain in the Windorah region © Queensland Museum, Gary Cranitch

Written By
Aimee Feldman


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