Surf’s up with 10m waves in cyclone record
WAVES of up to 10m w e r e r e c o r d e d i n Cleveland Bay at the peak of Cyclone Yasi.
The recently released data was collected by sensitive marine monitoring instruments placed in the area by the Port of Townsville as part of an environmental i mpact assessment to guide future port development.
The wave and current measuring instruments were put in place in October and study l eader Greg Fisk from environm e n t a l c o n s u l t a n c y group BMT WBM said the instruments recorded s o me o f t h e h i g h e s t waves ever experienced in Cleveland Bay.
‘‘ Based on the data coll e c t e d , w a v e s i n Cleveland Bay during the cyclone were consistently over five metres for a number of hours,’’ Mr Fisk said.
‘‘ Individual peak waves would have been significantly higher than that, possibly up to 10m.
‘‘ Extreme waves such as those experienced during Cyclone Yasi have the potential to cause sign i f i c a n t d a m a g e t o coastal structures if they are not of an appropriate design standard.’’
The instruments were housed in frames to prev e n t t h e m b e c o mi n g buried in sediment and placed at a depth of 15m which ensured they remained in position.
One device was dep l o y e d o f f s hore f r o m Arthur Bay immediately to the east of Magnetic Island while the second was situated off Cape Cleveland close to the port’s approved dredged material placement area.
Mr Fisk said oceanographic data logged during the cyclone would now be compared against meteorological data such as wind speed and direction to provide a greater understanding of how C l e v e l a n d B a y f u n c - tioned and reacted duri n g e x t r e me wea t h e r events.
‘‘ The information gathered will provide a valuable insight for the design and layout of future port and other foreshore i n f r a s t r u c t u r e i n o r around Cleveland Bay,’’ Mr Fisk said.
He said the real-time wave and current data collected in the months prior to Cyclone Yasi woul d h e l p c a l i b r a t e c o m p u t e r m o d e l s o f Cleveland Bay to simul a t e e x i s t i n g o c e a n o - graphic processes.
The models will be used t o p r e d i c t p o t e n t i a l c h a n g e s t o c o a s t a l processes when new development in Cleveland Bay was proposed.