Australia's climate is highly variable, with lower average rainfall and higher rainfall variability than most other nations. As a result, Australian agriculture is subject to more climate related risk than almost any other country in the world.
While Australian farmers are accustomed to climate variability, the emergence of climate change is presenting new challenges. Climate models predict changes in future rainfall patterns and more severe droughts and floods. Over the last 20 years large changes in Australian climate have already been observed including reductions in average winter rainfall in southern Australia and general increases in temperature.
ABARES climate and drought research considers the implications of climate variability and climate change for Australian agricultural industries. Key research topics include:
- Measuring emerging and projected climate change impacts on Australian farms and ongoing industry adaptation responses
- Analysis of drought and climate change policy issues as they relate to the agricultural sector
- Measurement and forecasting of drought impacts in agriculture, including the Drought Early Warning System project
- Monitoring industry and community drought vulnerability and resilience
- Development and maintenance of ABARES farmpredict model