Severe thunderstorms are a common occurrence in Australia and have been documented since the first European settlement in 1788. These events are characterized by large damaging hail in excess of 2 cm, convective wind gusts greater than 90 km h-1 and tornadoes, and contribute a quarter of all natural hazard-related losses in the country. This impact has lead to a growing body of research and insight into these events. In this article, the state of knowledge regarding their incidence, distribution, and the resulting hail, tornado, convective wind, and lightning risk will be reviewed. Applying this assessment of knowledge, the implications for forecasting, the warning process, and how these events may respond to climate change and variability will also be discussed. Based on this review, ongoing work in the field is outlined, and several potential avenues for future research and exploration are suggested. Most notably, the need for improved observational or proxy climatologies, the forecasting guidelines for tornadoes, and the need for a greater understanding of how severe thunderstorms respond to climate variability are highlighted.
- Severe Thunderstorms