Research Unlocks Weather Secrets; International Collaboration Uses Radar to Capture Images of Ancient Coastal Landforms

Article excerpt

RESEARCHERS from the University of the Sunshine Coast are hoping their studies of past weather events in Fraser Island's ancient coastal landforms will unlock future weather trends.

Lecturer in Science and Engineering, Dr Adrian McCallum, and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering, Dr Helen Fairweather, are collaborating on the special project with coastal geologist and geophysicist Dr Allen Gontz, from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

They are using ground-penetrating radar to capture images of ancient coastal landforms along the south-eastern coastline of the heritage-listed sand island.

Dr McCallum said that by looking at the depth and structure of buried ancient landforms, the researchers hoped to estimate what the weather might have been like in the past and how it could relate to current weather patterns.

"Gathering evidence of these trends will allow us to gauge the severity of weather in the past and help us in predicting future climate or weather changes," he said.

"The use of ground-penetrating radar equipment is a first for USC and it gives us the opportunity to know and understand more about the dynamics of our local coastal environment, both now and potentially in the future. …