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UniSQ Climate Overview

University of Southern Queensland's internationally acclaimed team of applied climate experts is relentlessly striving for Australian agriculture to have access to an arsenal of the most targeted and accurate climate science tools available, and to know how to use them.

Drought impacts are, unfortunately, one of the main characteristics of the key global systems and patterns that directly affect Australia, especially the El Nino/Southern Oscillation system and its associated patterns.

Professor Roger Stone is one of the world's leading voices when it comes to climate science in the Pacific. He knows as a nation we have not focused enough attention on climate patterns such as drought.

"It's a huge issue (drought) but then it rains and the issues goes 'off the table' almost immediately but, of course, then drought comes back a few years later and everyone is puzzled, scratching their heads," Professor Stone said.

"It catches us out almost every time, causes massive loss to the economy, it's insidious and causes enormous hardship not only to producers, graziers and farmers but also the entire community - but it is usually predictable some months in advance and there is much more we can do on preparedness."

Modelling, forecasting, understanding and communicating about how climate impacts the agricultural sector has taken a leap forward thanks to UniSQ's targeted research and extension work over many years.

The climate expert was a critical instigator in the establishment of the Queensland Drought Mitigation Centre (QDMC) in 2017, an entity linked to the Queensland Government which supports collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Department of Environment and Science and UniSQ.

"There is a huge need for preparedness. Droughts are going to get worse in many areas. However, there are some areas that we don't yet fully understand, particularly regarding protracted droughts of 4 or 5 years duration," Professor Stone said.

UniSQ's internationally acclaimed team of applied climate experts is driving a multi-pronged assault to ensure Australasian agriculture can confront changing and extreme climate while continuing to produce and profit.

United Nations World Meteorological Organisation

Professor Stone initiated the United Nations World Meteorological Organisation's main drought program and provides overall leadership of this and other key themes. Professor Stone also manages UniSQ's involvement with the Integrated Drought Management Program (as part of the Global Water Partnership and the United Nations). He knows the Queensland Drought Mitigation Centre is seen globally as a zone of excellence for drought research.

UniSQ continues to prepare for the future

UniSQ's Centre for Applied Climate Sciences must keep fighting against the 'hydro illogical cycle' to make any greater advances to deal with drought.

"None of the breakthroughs, discoveries or improvements in research and understanding is of any value unless landholders can use the information and tools confidently to make informed decisions about their primary production business to avoid climate caused losses or setbacks, and also position themselves to capitalise on more favourable conditions when they occur," Professor Stone said.

cattle in a field