The Bureau of Meteorology has just released a set of Regional Weather and Climate Guides to help farmers understand and manage their climate risk.
The guides compare key weather and climate variables over the last 30 years compared to the previous 30 years.
Climate guides for the Mallee, north-central, Glenelg-Hopkins, West Gippsland, and East Gippsland Natural Resource Management regions have been released and are available online.
Climate guides for the Wimmera, Corangamite, Port Philip and Western Port, Goulburn-Broken, and north-east will be made available in the coming weeks.
The guides aim to improve the resilience of farming businesses by providing localised facts about the likelihood, severity, duration and return period of drought, flood, heat waves and frosts.
The guides also focus on the variability of rainfall from season to season and year to year, along with the typical timing of the autumn break.
In the last 30 years in the Mallee:
- Annual rainfall has decreased by about 7 per cent
- The decrease in rainfall is seen mostly in the autumn and spring months
- Autumn break usually occurs around mid-May in the east to mid-June in the west
- Spring frosts have been more common and have been occurring later
The information in the guides can help farmers continue to adapt their practices, particularly around strategic decisions relating to crop varieties, stocking levels, leasing land in a range of climate zones, developing and managing water storage, and finance or insurance.
In the last 30 years in East Gippsland:
- Annual rainfall has remained relatively stable
- There have been fewer frosts across the region
- Temperatures have been increasing, along with more consecutive days above 35 degrees
Each guide has been developed in collaboration with stakeholders from each Natural Resource Management region around Australia.
The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO have held workshops with farmers and their representatives across the country, to learn about the key information farmers need to support a better understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with Australia's variable climate.
All guides will be available at www.bom.gov.au/climate/climate-guides/