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ARTICLES >> Environment Weather Watch

Weather Watch - July 2011

Posted by Bestprac on Jul 02 2011

by Susan Carn


One issue I try to avoid, because it is such a political and emotive one, is Climate Change. But it has been the hottest topic (pardon the pun) in the media lately so I thought I would have my say!

I’ll start with some facts. According to the Bureau of Meteorology all of Australia has experienced warming over the past 50 years. See map below.

Warming, as measured by decadal averages, has been constant since the middle of last century.

So is this warming trend responsible for extreme weather events?

“One of the most certain outcomes from decades of climate modelling is that we intensify the water cycle as we warm the planet” said Dr Karl Braganza, Climate Monitoring Manager, BOM, National Climate Centre. (Very simply the water cycle is: rain, falls to ground and into rivers and the sea, evaporates and makes clouds, rain etc.)

Intensifying the water cycle means that we could “expect a greater frequency of heavy rainfall events in the tropics, but also a drying of the mid latitudes, Mediterranean climates” he said. This could mean parts of WA and SA, but rainfall could be heavier there when it does occur.

So a warming trend brings changes: 

  • Globally averaged mean water vapour, evaporation and precipitation are projected to increase.
  • Rainfall will increase in the Tropics (monsoonal regions).
  • Rainfall will be more intense (heavy rainfall)
  • General decreases in rainfall will occur over the subtropics.
  • Even in areas where average rainfall decreases, rainfall intensity is projected to increase; but there would be longer periods between rainfall events.

I have certainly noticed a change in weather patterns in my region of SA over the past 25 years, with longer dry spells and intense storm events.

Back to recent events, and British politician Lord Christopher Monckton made the news with his argument that humans are not damaging the climate. In a Channel Ten interview, Lord Monckton insisted the planet was not warming as fast as scientists claim. He says if it is, the best response is to adapt.

Well I don’t want to surmise if it’s humans fault or not, but I do believe in facts, and I hope I’ve shown some proof that we are in a warming phase which is having consequences.

I do agree with him on one point however, and that is that we must adapt. As farmers we are at the coal face and we should be finding ways to adapt to changes in our weather patterns.

A good place to start is by looking at the Climate Kelpie Website
There you will find case studies of farmers from all over Australia who are rising to the challenge and adapting to climate variability on their properties.

The Climate Kelpie Website is easy to navigate and has filters so that you can choose relevant information for your district and commodity. You’ll also find support tools for managing climate variability and links to other climate sites.

So to have my two bobs worth, let’s not play a blame game. Rather let’s adapt the way we farm to manage a challenging climate so that we can remain productive, viable and profitable. I believe the solutions are out there – we just have to learn and be willing to change.

Last changed: Feb 09 2012



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