Multi‑week prediction of livestock chill conditions associated with the northwest Queensland floods of February 2019

Cowan, Tim and Wheeler, Matthew C. and de Burgh-Day, Catherine and Nguyen, Hanh and Cobon, David (2022) Multi‑week prediction of livestock chill conditions associated with the northwest Queensland floods of February 2019. Scientific Reports, 12 (1):5907. pp. 1-13.

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Abstract

The compound extreme weather event that impacted northern Queensland in February 2019 featured record-breaking rainfall, persistent high wind gusts and relatively cold day-time temperatures. This caused livestock losses numbering around 500,000 in the northwest Queensland Gulf region. In this study, we examine the livestock chill conditions associated with this week-long compound weather event and its potential for prediction from eleven world-leading sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecast systems. The livestock chill index combines daily rainfall, wind and surface temperature data. Averaged over the event week, the potential heat loss of livestock was in the moderate to high category, with severe conditions on the day of peak rainfall (5 February). Using calibrated forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology's S2S forecast system, ACCESS-S1, a 1-week lead prediction showed a 20–30% probability of extreme livestock chill conditions over the northwest Queensland Gulf region, however the highest probabilities were located to the west of where the greatest livestock impacts were observed. Of the remaining ten S2S systems, around half predicted a more than 20% chance of extreme conditions, more than twice the climatological probability. It appears that the prediction accuracy arose from the skilful forecasts of extreme rainfall, as opposed to cold day-time temperature and strong wind forecasts. Despite a clear association between the observed extreme weather conditions and an active Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) event stalling in the western Pacific, the majority of 1-week lead S2S forecasts showed little indication of a slow-down in the MJO. As the livestock chill index was developed for southern Australian sheep, it may not be the best metric to represent the effects of exposure on tropical cattle breeds. Hence, this study draws attention to the need for tailored diagnostics that better represent the cold effects of summer tropical cyclones and tropical depressions on northern Australian livestock.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 05 May 2022 23:15
Last Modified: 05 May 2022 23:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: Madden–Julian Oscillation; Australian rainfall; Seasonal prediction; Impacts; Weather
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3701 Atmospheric sciences > 370101 Adverse weather events
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3701 Atmospheric sciences > 370105 Atmospheric dynamics
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3701 Atmospheric sciences > 370108 Meteorology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1004 Livestock raising > 100401 Beef cattle
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1801 Air quality, atmosphere and weather > 180104 Weather
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1904 Natural hazards > 190405 Meteorological hazards (e.g. cyclones and storms)
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-09666-z
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/48150

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