Tag Archives: weather

Predicting fire, flood, and food shortages

In lands ‘of droughts and flooding rains,’ predicting the weather means saving both lives and livelihoods. The work of Indonesian and Australian scientists, which began with a visit to Jakarta in 1981 by climate scientist Professor Neville Nicholls, has given the countries the ability to forecast rain in the dry season, and during the lead up to the wet season. This means the fires, haze, and food shortages that often go hand in hand with droughts can be predicted—and planned for. Continue reading Predicting fire, flood, and food shortages

Australian farmers bring climate research to the paddock

Leading grain farmers are guiding climate researchers as part of Australia’s Climate Champion initiative.

Australian farmers bring climate research to the paddock
Farmer Simon Wallwork has worked with climate scientists on his farm. Credit: GRDC
They hope the results will help farmers to adapt to Australia’s increasingly challenging and variable climate. Scientists supported by the Managing Climate Variability program asked the farmers about what they needed to know about climate in their areas—what forecasts and predictions would be most helpful and how they should be presented. Continue reading Australian farmers bring climate research to the paddock

Giving farmers more timely weather and climate forecasts

Seven days. Three months. We can now get accurate rainfall and temperature forecasts for these periods, but what if a farmer had access to quality outlooks that sat between the two—multi-week forecasts?

Giving farmers more timely weather and climate forecasts
Dr Andrew Watkins forecasts for farmers. Credit: Bureau of Meteorology
Multi-week forecasts would allow farmers to make better harvesting and sowing decisions before or after drought or flood events. Australia’s Managing Climate Variability research and development program is working with the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO scientists to fill this gap. Continue reading Giving farmers more timely weather and climate forecasts

Fresh Science 2010

Each year we identify early-career scientists with a discovery and bring them to Melbourne for a communication boot camp. Here are some of their stories. More at www.freshscience.org.au Print your own lasers, lights and TV screens
Print your own lasers, lights and TV screens
Jacek Jasieniak sprinkling quantum dots. Credit: Jacek Jasieniak
Imagine printing your own room lighting, lasers, or solar cells from inks you buy at the local newsagent. Jacek Jasieniak and colleagues at CSIRO, the University of Melbourne and the University of Padua in Italy, have developed liquid inks based on quantum dots that can be used to print such devices and in the first demonstration of their technology have produced tiny lasers. Quantum dots are made of semiconductor material grown as nanometre-sized crystals, around a millionth of a millimetre in diameter. The laser colour they produce can be selectively tuned by varying their size.
Cling wrap captures CO2
Colin Scholes operates a test rig for his carbon capture membrane. Credit: CO2 CRC
Cling wrap captures CO2 High tech cling wraps that ‘sieve out’ carbon dioxide from waste gases can help save the world, says Melbourne University chemical engineer, Colin Scholes who developed the technology. The membranes can be fitted to existing chimneys where they capture CO2 for removal and storage. Not only are the new membranes efficient, they are also relatively cheap to produce. They are already being tested on brown coal power stations in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley, Colin says. “We are hoping these membranes will cut emissions from power stations by up to 90 per cent.” Continue reading Fresh Science 2010

Antarctica under threat

Climate change will impose a complex web of threats and interactions on the plants and animals living in the ice-free areas of Antarctica. Increased temperatures may promote growth and reproduction, but may also contribute to drought and associated effects. These scenarios are explored in a new book, Trends in Antarctic Terrestrial and Limnetic Ecosystems: Antarctica as a Global Indicator, co-edited by Australian Antarctic Division biologist, Dr. Dana Bergstrom. Continue reading Antarctica under threat