To define and model meteorological drought in the Northern Agricultural Region of Western Australia

Mendonca, Jessica (2020) To define and model meteorological drought in the Northern Agricultural Region of Western Australia. [USQ Project]

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Drought is one of the least understood natural hazards on account of the complex dynamics between climatology and meteorology that drive it. Monitoring and quantifying drought is critical to many aspects of life particularly given the predicted changes to rainfall, temperature and variability associated with climate change. For dryland farming in Australia accurate forecasting will determine the preparedness for this change, especially in a region which is seemingly caught between two climate drivers as they alternately track up and down the west coast.

The motivation behind this research is to firstly contribute to the coverage of historical rainfall data by digitising farm-based records before conducting localised predictions for a region misrepresented by current methods. This is achieved through the application of meteorological drought indices to 38 stations across the North Midlands, an area within the Northern Agricultural region of Western Australia. This research provides valuable classification of the meteorological drought characteristics with respect to the study area’s wheat growing period for use by both farmers and drought response agencies.

Windmere station has been found to be reliable in comparison to the nearest Bureau of Meteorology station and when coupled with anecdotal evidence is providing a unique insight. It has emerged that although a generalised May to October growing period currently captures drought in the study area, selecting a localised growing period that more frequently represents the North Midland’s shorter season is important to accurately determine agricultural drought from meteorological indices. Spatial analysis in this study indicates that the North Midlands region differs greatly in frequency and onset of drought when compared with the greater South West Agricultural Region. However, there is evidently a need for greater research in this area to develop applicable combined indices capable of incorporating crop water availability accurately, particularly with the increased risk of temperature induced drought.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Chowdhury, Rezaul
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil)
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2021 05:35
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 04:17

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