New Dust Storm To Hit Sydney

In Australasia, Floods & Storms, News Headlines, Scientific Reports

An earth scientist says another major dust storm over south-eastern Australia is likely within weeks.

The Australian National University’s Professor Patrick De Deckker is studying the last decade of storms, which have carried millions of tonnes of dust across the nation.

Professor De Deckker says he expects another major storm will develop after the flooded inland of Australia dries during spring.

“You had major floods in Central Australia and I think in the near future, when the material that covers the landscape – especially the lake floors and river banks – when that dries up, the wind will pick it up and lift some of the material to our eastern seashores,” he said.

“So it is likely to be this spring, but more likely in early autumn.”

Professor De Deckker has also developed what he describes is a “fingerprinting” technique to identify the composition and origin of dust.

He says the technique reveals the origin, cause and impacts of severe events such as the last major storm over Sydney and Canberra in September last year.

“What we have discovered is that when you have a major dust storm and you have a front carrying a lot of dust, it may start in a particular area – let’s say Lake Eyre – it will pick up additional dust on its way. So the composition of the dust storm will change,” he said.

“The other thing that we have found is that rain does carry quite a lot, or drop a lot of dust.”

His team is continuing to test for pathogens in samples collected from the previous storms.

Australia is the largest source of airborne dust in the southern hemisphere.

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