Bureau of Meteorology launches ag-focused climate guides

Bureau of Meteorology launches ag-focussed climate guides

Innovation
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Each guide compares recent and historical climate data to help growers make informed decisions.

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Luke Shelley from BOMs Agriculture Program says the new climate guides are about
helping growers understand risks and identify opportunities

Luke Shelley from BOMs Agriculture Program says the new climate guides are about helping growers understand risks and identify opportunities

KEY POINTS

  • The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has developed climate guides specifically designed for the agricultural sector
  • Each guide compares recent and historical climate data
  • They also provide static and tailored information that demonstrates the likelihood,severity and duration of key weather variables, like rainfall reliability and the likelihood, severity and duration of climate extremes like droughts, floods, and heatwaves

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has launched climate guides specifically designed for the agricultural sector.

The guides were created in partnership with FarmLink and CSIRO in a $2.7 million, 12-month project and cover 56 Natural Resource Management regions across Australia. They are part of the Australian Government's drought assistance package.

The idea is to provide information based on historical observations that growers can use to gain a better understanding of the likelihood of variables that impact on their business. - Luke Shelley from BOM's Agriculture Program

Each four-page guide compares recent and historical climate data to help growers make informed decisions. They also provide static and tailored information that demonstrates the likelihood, severity and duration of key agriculturally relevant weather variables for each region.

This information includes the reliability of rainfall, likelihood, severity and duration of climate extremes such as droughts, floods and heatwaves, as well as the timing of key weather events including the autumn break, wet season onset and the average date of first and last frost.

Luke Shelley from BOM's Agriculture Program says the guides are about helping growers understand risks and identify opportunities.

"The idea is to provide information based on historical observations that growers can use to gain a better understanding of the likelihood of variables that impact on their business; for example, the timing of an autumn break or reliable summer rainfall.

"The bureau has data going back more than 100 years in some parts of Australia -- we're putting it into a format that growers can use to make on-farm decisions that suit their risk calculations and businesses."

As an example, the guide for Condamine, the region around Toowoomba in southern Queensland, says:

In the past 30 years in the Condamine:

  • Annual rainfall has decreased by about 9 per cent;
  • There was a consistent decrease in monthly rainfall averages across the year;
  • July to September rainfall decreased by 27 per cent, with implications for spring soil moisture;
  • Summer rainfall has been reliable compared to other seasons, with autumn and winter being the most unreliable;
  • Wet years occurred seven times and dry years occurred nine times;
  • Spring frosts have been more common and have been occurring later; and
  • There have been more hot days, with more instances of consecutive days above 38°C.

The guides also include a page on annual rainfall, rainfall timing, and frost and temperature variables.

They are available at: www.bom.gov.au; www.climatekelpie.com.au; and www.farmhub.org.au

More information: Luke Shelley, agriculture@bom.gov.au

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