Roma’s ris­ing tem­per­a­tures

Hot­ter days will af­fect farm­ers in the re­gion

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Rural Crime - CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER Cas­san­dra.glover@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

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

2090.

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.”

❝get

You would a re­duced yield. The hot­ter it gets, the more pro­tein lev­els re­duce.

— Charles Na­son

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

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