Hot days are set to in­crease

Central and North Rural Weekly - - CLIMATE CHANGE - GEORDI OFFORD Geordi.offord@ru­ral­

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

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