Hot days are set to increase
THE number of 35-degree days have almost doubled in the Rockhampton region.
Those were the findings from a new report by The Australia Institute.
The report was created as a part of their heatwatch initiative with projections from the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.
It stated if action wasn’t taken on the issue of climate change soon, the region would see about half of the summer reach temperatures above 35 degrees by 2070.
The findings come off the back of graziers becoming more vocal on the topic of climate change.
Ealier this month the Rural Weekly spoke to Jody Brown, from Latrobe Station near Longreach, who said rising temperatures were impacting her business. In a short video shared on Facebook she said it was obvious farmers were facing longer dry periods due to climate shifts.
Grazier Mick Alexander, from Bindaree about 40km outside of Rockhampton, agreed.
“Over the last few years we’ve had to cut back on our cattle numbers because of the extreme heat and because it’s been very dry,” he said.
“We’re also planting more trees in paddocks to give the cattle more shade and are also considering building structures.
“Any animals with black coats tend to not be able to get the heat out of their system as easily so there’s an impact on the animals.”
He said higher temperatures also meant livestock consumed more water.
“Our water storage and pumping capacity has to be greater to compensate for that,” he said.
“Hotter days mean higher evaporation rates which will mean we’re losing more water out of our storages and troughs.
“I think in the future we’ll have to have a lot more strategies in place to be able to cope.
“That will probably mean running less numbers.”
Mr Alexander said for change to happen, the government needed to work closer with farmers, not miners.
“If we can put the carbon back into the soil we can increase productivity and help fix the problem of poor soils,” he said.
“We’ll get it back into the
❝ If we can put the carbon back into the soil we can increase productivity...
land, our droughts won’t be as severe and we’ll hold more water in the ground for longer periods so we can grow more grass and be able to run more animals.”
The Australia Institute’s principal advisor Mark Ogge said climate change would have a devastating impact on the region.
“There will be an increase in heat-related deaths, agricultural productivity will be hit hard and people’s quality of life will plummet,” he said.
While the stats are alarming, Mr Ogge said the increase of hotter weather wasn’t inevitable.
“If emissions are reduced, the increase in extreme heat days can be for the most part avoided,” he said.
— Mick Alexander
GETTING HEATED: Grazier Mick Alexander, principal advisor at The Australia Institute Mark Ogge and Dr Elizabeth Hanna discuss how climate change is impacting temperatures. PHOTO: GEORDI OFFORD