AustralianFarmers

Upgraded climate forecasting now available from the Bureau

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has updated its climate prediction (or long-range forecasting) model to be more powerful and accurate, giving Australians the tools to plan for our harsh climate.

The upgraded model is called the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator—Seasonal (ACCESS-S) and runs on a supercomputer named “Australis” which is 16 times more powerful than its predecessor.

Its improved resolution gives a better representation of how local land features affect the climate of surrounding areas by shifting from a 250 km grid to a more location-specific 60 km grid.

The previous model excluded Tasmania out of its reading range, leaving the island without accurate forecasts for their residents.

The new model better represents such regions, including the Great Dividing Range – the eastern highlands stretching from Queensland to Victoria – which plays a key role in influencing rainfall variability in eastern Australia.

The difference in climate between coastal Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and inland Bathurst is captured by the new model where the previous model treated that entire region in the same way.

Maps: Spring 2018 rainfall outlooks from the old model and new model (right) showing the chance of receiving above-average seasonal rainfall.

This means better forecasts for geographically complex regions. Seasonal forecasting plays a big role in agriculture. That means these improvements will have many flow-on benefits to communities across Australia.

The finer detailing also extends to ocean forecasting so that small-scale currents and eddies in the East Australian Current are measured more accurately. This means that climate drivers, such as El Niño and La Niña, can be forecast with more accuracy.

Get the details from the Bureau’s latest Climate Outlook here.

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