Roma’s rising temperatures
Hotter days will affect farmers in the region
THE number of days over 40 degrees could increase almost tenfold in the Roma region by 2050 in the absence of strong policy response to climate change, according to new research from The Australia Institute.
The analysis is based on Bureau of Meteorology data and CSIRO climate projections.
The Australia Institute’s HeatWatch initiative shows that days over 40 degrees in Roma could increase from historic levels of four days a year to up to 20 days by 2030 and continue to rise to as many as 80 days a year by
It also finds a dramatic increase in overnight temperatures. Minimum overnight temperatures above
25 degrees are projected to rise from historic levels of about three nights a year to up to 60 nights a year towards the end of the century.
Rolleston grazier Bloss Hickson said the predicted increase in temperatures could be devastating for the region.
“Farming is by far the biggest employer in the region,” Ms Hickson said.
“These kinds of temperature rises would be devastating for agriculture and the wellbeing of our community.
“When the land gets hotter, the water doesn’t penetrate into the land.
“It could affect rainfall and water shortage would become an even bigger problem.
“The animals would suffer, there would be lower calving rates and it would be slower to turn off cattle.”
Charles Nason from Roma has a mixed operation, growing grain and grazing cattle.
He said the increase in temperatures would affect all aspects of farming either directly or indirectly.
“It would affect an enormous number of things,” Mr Nason said.
“We rely on stored moisture for our crops so we’d have less stored moisture.
“You would get a reduced yield. The hotter it gets, the more protein levels reduce.
“The same thing happens in grazing. The grass fibre levels increase and the protein levels drop and it becomes harder to digest.”
Mr Nason said a drop in grain production would also affect the feedlot industry.
“Southern Queensland is about half of Australia’s feedlot capacity,” he said.
“And they depend very much on grain.
“So we would see fewer cattle at the feedlots.”
The Australia Institute principal adviser and report author Mark Ogge said if emissions continued to rise, it would have a devastating impact on the region.
“The great news is that it is not inevitable,” he said.
“We know that if we reduce emissions these increases in extreme heat can be, for the most part, avoided.
“Better still, strong climate policies would also create huge economic opportunities for such a solar-rich region.
“There are also enormous opportunities to sequester carbon.
“We can do our bit to help solve the problem and create jobs at the same time.”
You would a reduced yield. The hotter it gets, the more protein levels reduce.
— Charles Nason
CLIMATE RESEARCH: QUT’s Professor Melissa Haswell, farmer Charlie Nason, grazier Bloss Hickson, farmer Nikki Thompson, ConnectAg’s Rhonda Toms-Morgan and The Australia Institute’s Mark Ogge.