The introduction by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) of a new model in its three-month seasonal outlooks will provide grain growers with more reliable information to manage climate risk and guide their cropping activities, according to the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
The BoM has switched to a dynamical, or physics-based, climate model known as the Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA), which replaces the statistical climate model that compared current conditions with historical climate.
The new model, which lays the foundation for further increases in forecast accuracy over the coming decades, has been welcomed by the GRDC and the Managing Climate Variability (MCV) Program, which is administered by the GRDC for a consortium of agricultural industry partners.
The MCV Program, with funding from GRDC and partners, has supported development and evaluation of the new POAMA system which forms the basis of the BoM’s Seasonal Climate Outlooks which are updated each month. POAMA has been refined over more than 10 years of R&D by the BoM and CSIRO.
MCV Program science manager Dr Beverley Henry says the new model will enable the MCV Program to provide grain growers with more reliable intelligence to assist with climate risk management and planning of seasonal activities.
Dr Henry says while statistical-based models still have a role, they are becoming less reliable because of trends in rainfall and temperature patterns in recent years. The new dynamical model combines the physics of the atmosphere, oceans, land and ice to calculate the likely climate conditions across Australia for the next three months.
“The reliability of seasonal forecasts is extremely important for grain growers. Advances in data and computing technology are constantly enhancing the accuracy of the seasonal outlooks, and the new POAMA model is another step forward,” Dr Henry said.