Considerable data on the frequency and magnitude of tropical cyclones in northern and Western Australia over the late Holocene has now been collected. From the earliest studies of Chappell et al. (1983) and Chivas et al. (1986) and then Hayne and Chappell (2001) and Nott and Hayne (2001) the regional record suggests that the more intense cyclone events occur on average every 200-300 years for most locations along the Queensland coast. The recent isotope studies of annually layered carbonate stalagmites also confirms that extreme tropical cyclones occur in the Cairns region considerably more frequently than previously estimated from the short instrumental record. Unfortunately, this disparity between the paleo and shorter records is often ignored in risk assessments of tropical cyclones in this region (cf Queenaland Government, 2001, 2004). To incorporate the Quaternary data when assessing risk from this hazard will lead to a more realistic assessment of the tropical cyclone magnitude and frequency relationship and a reduction in risk as a consequence.
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