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Ian McClelland Chairman MCV program Contributors : Colin Creighton Dr. Barry White Dr. Peter Hayman.

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Presentation on theme: "Ian McClelland Chairman MCV program Contributors : Colin Creighton Dr. Barry White Dr. Peter Hayman."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ian McClelland Chairman MCV program Contributors : Colin Creighton Dr. Barry White Dr. Peter Hayman

2 Two Farmers WizardClairvoyant -Making the right decision- Foresees the future -Understands climate risk- Acts with knowledge -Has knowledge and understanding- Probability working for him

3 MCV Program –Developing new weather forecasts and products that meet Australia’s agricultural needs –Improving capability of farmers to make better management decisions around climate variability –Farmers having the right skills to understand weather systems

4 Roger Jones CSIRO Why we focus on climate variability as opposed to climate change?

5 What destroyed the sand castle ? In a variable and changing climate it will always be hard to distinguish between extreme events (wave) and trends (tide)

6 What do we want farmers to adopt from MCV program? –Wise decisions instead of lucky decisions –Assess risk –Understand climate data –Access data relevant to their specific locality –Confidence – Dare to risk

7 Federation drought ~1895 to 1902 WWII drought ~1937 to 1945 Millennium drought ~1997 to now Climate variability has a crucial relationship to profitability

8 Severe prolonged drought Severe single year drought


10 Crops




14 Achievements and challenges over 18 years. 1.Change from drought research programs and managing droughts to climate variability programs for all seasons that include climate risk.

15 2. The change from ENSO forecasts to those which include IOD, SAM & IPO Example for Qld – Drivers of: ENSO, Monsoon Madden-Julian Oscillation Synoptic features of: Trade winds Cyclones & Depressions Monsoon conditions Inland troughs East Coast / Cut Off Lows Cloud Bands Frontal Changes


17 3. Development of management tools AussieGRASS was one of the first projects funded and involved 7 State Government Departments with Rangelands responsibilities. (now self funding) AussieGRASS develops a pasture growth or ground cover outlook a season ahead using a well validated pasture growth model. The outlook reflects: Current soil moisture Current pasture levels, and The seasonal rainfall forecast

18 4. Understanding probability Yield Prophet Tamworth historical Potential Yield 204mm soil moisture @ 18/4 Tamworth Historical Potential Yield vs Last 30 years 204mm soil moisture at 18/4

19 Tamworth Historic Potential Yield 0mm soil moisture @ 18/4 Impact of Climate Change Scenarios on Frost and Heat Shock Risks for the Current Crop

20 Tamworth Historic Potential Yield 0mm soil moisture @ 18/4 Climate Change Scenarios for 2030

21 Inflows for the dam on the Lachlan All years Low, Medium High All equal chance if no forecast SOI positive – La Niña SOI negative – El Niño And the Chocolate Wheel Wins

22 5. MCV Program relevant to many industries - MCV fund most long term weather forecasting programs - Challenge to attract new participants

23 6. Improved weather forecasting Biggest early challenge – Getting the message across and back When are seasonal forecasts most useful? Winter-spring in eastern Australia Areas in red show rainfall deficiency in winter spring in 12 El Niño years. Perception of little value in southern Australia SW Western Australia

24 Years with the worst wheat crops nationally have all been El Niño years. (But not all El Niño years are widespread droughts.) Probability forecasts - a hard sell - “They only shift the odds half the time in half the places” Users are hard markers -sometimes only confusion reigns down

25 7. Climate champions and masters of climate material

26 8. Limitation of climate forecasts Taking into account soil type, topography and management 9. The difference between observed seasonal climate forecast and those used as a management tool 50% of farmers use SCF but have a certain lack of confidence in long term forecasts

27 Priorities and scores  Rebadge away from origins as a $2.1m part of the 1992 NDP8/10  Involve most Rural R&D Corporations9/10  Better seasonal forecasts5/10  Better feedback: users forecasters 8/10  Give priority to worlds best generic products to give all farmers and NRM users timely and local climate knowledge 10/10

28 R&D Strategy 2008-2014 Four themes - 1.Forecasting 2.Soil, climate & water attributes 3.Tools for Agriculture 4.Knowledge, adoption & communication Partnership across LWA, GRDC, MLA, DA, RIRDC, SRDC A 4.7: 1 benefit cost ratio over the last 15 years

29 Forecasting Global Circulation Models - a major research challenge as we recognise the dynamic nature of our climate; - already providing increased certainty and local relevance in forecasts; - our investments focus on where improved skill will benefit agriculture Multi-Week Forecasting - breaking down the barriers of weather & climate - fostering “within season” climate risk management Relevance - ensuring forecasts and products that meet Australian agriculture’s needs

30 30

31 The future prosperity of our agricultural community will depend on: –More qualified and skilled professionals supported by science and technology. –Continual adjustments in agricultural practices as climate variability becomes more pronounced. –The MCV program still has much more to achieve.

32 Discussion Source: Australian Government – Bureau of Meteorology Discussion





37 Reflecting on the first decade Lack of continuity – uncertain funding – drought dependent –competing with climate change Equitable funding ?– free-riders abound, Confusion from cottage industry of alternative forecasts How to get probabilities across - customers are ambiguity shy (prefer certainty to knowledge) Taking a new a new R&D focus to 100,000 farmers on $1m per year ( if you were lucky) The challenge - more attractive to modelers than to communicators ( only some could do both at the same time!)

38 To summarise – key investment opportunities For R&D Strategy to 2014 and our 4 themes - 1.Forecasting – tropical, especially monsoon / wet season and east coast 2.Soil, climate & water attributes – soil moisture prediction and on- farm calibration….and implications for fertiliser, weeds & diseases 3.Tools for Agriculture – harvest season prediction 4.Knowledge, adoption & communication – data drill and multi- week products on WATL Commissioned and output focussed R&D to maximise benefit:cost ratio

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