Monday, June 26, 2017

Queensland and North Australia Rainfall Variability

Queensland experiences some of the highest rainfall variability in the world. The chart below shows an analysis of the historical rainfall records from 1889–2017 and reveals 9 sequences of wet and dry periods, each lasting from 5 to 13 years. Our variable climate, especially long periods of drought, is one of the biggest challenges when running a successful grazing property in north Australia.
The maps also indicate graphically the situation for north Australia and includes the Northern Territory.
The maps are easier to see if downloaded separately from the original website.
Queensland has had a recent extended period of low rainfall [ see reddish and brown areas], while north and northwest Australia has been wetter than normal [blue and green areas].
There are some indications that at least for Queensland it might be getting wetter. 
Australia's Extended Wet/Dry Periods (1889-2016)
Queensland's Extended Wet/Dry Periods (1889-2017) (PDF, 2.1M, last updated 01:48PM, 21 June 2017)*
The Drought and Climate Adaptation Program (DCAP) is an initiative to improve drought preparedness and resilience for Queensland producers. The program aims to do this by delivering a range of research, development and extension projects.
The Queensland Drought Mitigation Centre is a collaboration of national and international climate modelling expertise and has been established to facilitate the research, development and extension projects under the DCAP program. The Centre is a collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).  It has a Queensland focus, but data tends to cover north Australia more generally.
Drought and Climate Adaptation Program
The research projects include:
  • Managing for climate variability and improving drought preparedness in Queensland grazing enterprises: Rural specialists' perspectives and suggestions
  • Quantifying and communicating risks associated with multi-year drought in Queensland
  • Customised Pasture Alerts by email
  • Redevelopment of the LongPaddock website
  • Necessary climate change projections data for quantitative agricultural risk management
  • Communicating climate change impacts on Queensland’s agricultural sectors
  • Learning from the past – incorporating palaeoclimate data into water security planning and decision-making
  • Improving seasonal forecasts
  • Predicting multi-year droughts
  • Quantifying multi-year droughts
  • Enhanced multi-peril crop insurance
  • Economic value of risk management from seasonal forecasts
  • Developing drought monitoring indices
  • Developing crop forecasting models
  • Enhancing decision support tools
  • Crop production modelling under climate change
  • Regional climate change adaptation
  • Managing for climate variability workshops
More details on the results of the projects will be available soon.
This type of approach may offer deeper insights for the rural communities in north Australia, as well as mining and other industries in the north.

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