New drought centre in the works

New drought centre in the works

New drought centre in the works The Queensland budget has allocated $3.5 million to the Drought Resilience Program for establishing − in partnership with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) − a centre focused on helping Aussies better prepare for drought, reported ABC.

Professor Roger Stone, director of the International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences at USQ, said the centre was a fantastic step forward for agriculture in Australia which probably has the highest rainfall variability in the world, and in many parts of Queensland, which has the highest rainfall variability in Australia.  

According to the ABC report, the centre will monitor and research climate, often in cooperation with international agencies, for finding more about what drives drought.

"We know, for example, [that] El Niño is one of the main sources for drought, but that's only really for half of Queensland or two-thirds perhaps," explained Stone in the ABC report.

"When we get out to western Queensland, there are other factors that take over, which we know about, but it’s about tying all this together.

“We work with a lot of international agencies who do a lot of the atmospheric modelling, so they understand some of the patterns and we understand some of the patterns”

“So it’s putting all that together to help us prepare better for the droughts when they start to develop, but also getting us ready for when they break so we can capitalise on the better seasons when they occur,” said Stone.

Stone also explained that the new centre could have implications for crop insurance, in that one of its projects “is to have a better look at the crop insurance programs.”

“So, linking in with the insurance and the re-insurance agencies, not only in Australia but globally, on transferring this risk about, so that insurance companies better understand the sort of variability that Australia has to put up with and the climate mechanisms that cause our droughts,” said Stone.

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