Witnessing hail falling from the sky captures our attention and imagination, especially in places which rarely experience freezing weather. The variety of shapes, sizes and coverage of hail stones, from spiky softballs to deep accumulations of tiny pea hail, continue to challenge our scientific understanding of hailstorms.
However, hail also has a darker side. The impact of hail inflicts damage not only to vehicles and houses, but also to crops and livestock which can’t seek shelter. These damages cost the Australian economy hundreds of millions every year, however little has been known about Australian hailstorms until relatively recently.
This lecture unravels the history of hailstorm catastrophes in Australia and explores new technology, techniques and research to offer insight into the evolution of hailstorms and improving their predictability.
Dr Joshua Soderholm is a meteorologist and Research Fellow working with Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment and the Bureau of Meteorology to develop an open weather radar data set and research-grade hail algorithms. Joshua designed and conducted the Coastal Convective Interactions Experiment during his PhD with the University of Queensland to develop a deeper understanding of hailstorms in Southeast Queensland. He also conducts research in paleoclimates and tropical cyclones and provides his expertise to the energy distribution industry.