Queensland’s multi-year Wet and Dry periods: implications for grazing enterprises and pasture resources

McKeon, G. and Stone, R. and Ahrens, D. and Cobon, D. and Irvine, S. and Syktus, J. (2021) Queensland’s multi-year Wet and Dry periods: implications for grazing enterprises and pasture resources. Rangeland Journal, 43 (3). pp. 121-142. ISSN 1036-9872

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Abstract

Year-to-year variability in rainfall has long been recognised as a major issue in managing livestock enterprises across Australia's grazing lands. Extension products documenting rainfall variability have been developed over the last 30 years and have been keenly sought by producers and their advisors. This paper describes multi-year rainfall variability from 1889 to 2020 and provides the basis for classifying the 131 years of rainfall into 18 discrete Wet (7), Average (2) and Dry (9) periods as presented in the 'Queensland's Extended Wet and Dry Periods' poster. The classification was consistent with: Analysis of fluctuations and trends in the long-term time series of reported livestock numbers; drought declarations for government assistance; and documented periods of pasture resource degradation and recovery. Rainfall during the nine Wet and Average periods was +18% above the long-term average annual rainfall (LTAAR), in contrast to the Dry periods with-17% below LTAAR. Wet periods (including Average) were on average 7 years in duration, ranging from 5 to 9 years. Dry periods were on average 8 years in duration and ranged from 5 to 13 years. Detailed analysis of the effects of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon indicated that: (a) the Wet/Dry periods were dominated by different frequencies and amounts of rainfall in La Nina/El Nino years; (b) rainfall in ENSO neutral years was generally above and below average rainfall for the Wet or Dry periods respectively; (c) the frequency of ENSO year-types was less important than the overall rainfall surplus (or deficit) in La Nina (or El Nino) years within the Wet (or Dry) periods respectively; and (d) the timing of Wet and Dry periods was correlated with indices of quasi-decadal and inter-decadal variability in components (sea surface temperatures and atmospheric pressures) of the global climate system. Climatic risk assessment systems for grazing management at multi-year timescales are yet to be developed.


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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: 13 Jun 2022 06:08
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2022 01:43
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rainfall variability, drought, El Nino Southern Oscillation, ENSO, El Nino, La Nina, quasi-decadal, Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation, degradation, pasture recovery, livestock production
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300299 Agriculture, land and farm management not elsewhere classified
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300302 Animal management
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300206 Agricultural spatial analysis and modelling
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3004 Crop and pasture production > 300499 Crop and pasture production not elsewhere classified
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300207 Agricultural systems analysis and modelling
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300205 Agricultural production systems simulation
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370299 Climate change science not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1005 Pasture, browse and fodder crops > 100503 Native and residual pastures
10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1004 Livestock raising > 100401 Beef cattle
10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1001 Environmentally sustainable animal production > 100199 Environmentally sustainable animal production not elsewhere classified
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190103 Social impacts of climate change and variability
10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1004 Livestock raising > 100413 Sheep for wool
10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1004 Livestock raising > 100412 Sheep for meat
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1904 Natural hazards > 190401 Climatological hazards (e.g. extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires)
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190504 Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts)
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190199 Adaptation to climate change not elsewhere classified
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180603 Evaluation, allocation, and impacts of land use
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ20089
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/48976

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