LOOKING FORWARD: The Climate Guides are designed to help farmers make decisions for their future.
LOOKING FORWARD: The Climate Guides are designed to help farmers make decisions for their future. Sarah Hansen

EXPLAINED: How Queensland's weather has changed

WE ARE experiencing more hot days and less reliable rainfall, according to a climate report released this week.

The Climate Guides for Border Rivers, encompassing Miles, Roma, St George and Goondiwindi, and for the southwest, made up of Charleville, Cunnamulla, Quilpie and Thargomindah, are designed to give farmers the best possible climate information.

The Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO and FarmLink have jointly produced the reports for farmers.

Drought Minister David Littleproud said the guides were part of the Federal Government's assistance package.

"This will give farmers the best possible guidance. The guides will make sure cockies know their climate risks and opportunities," Mr Littleproud said.

"This will help with decisions such as when to plant crops, put fodder aside, lease land, build water storages or take out loans.

"We've worked with local farming groups so the data meets the needs of each region."

In the southwest, instances of very hot weather increased in the past 30 years compared to the period prior.

Thargomindah experienced an average of 11 days per year above 42C between 1989-2018, compared to the average of eight days per year in the period prior. In 2013, temperatures of 46C were recorded for Thargomindah 12 times, compared to being recorded only once before, in January 1963.

Instances of consecutive days above 42C have also been more frequent in the past 30 years. In 2004, 2006, 2017 and twice in 2018, Thargomindah experienced periods of seven or more days in a row above 42C.

Before 2003, this had not happened.

In the past 30 years in the Border Rivers, the annual number of days above 38C has increased.

Miles experienced an average of nine days per year above 38C between 1989-2018, compared to an average of three in the prior 30-year period.

Since 1989, very high temperatures (42C or above) have been recorded 11 times.

Instances of consecutive days above 38C have also been more frequent. Since 2001, Miles experienced five periods of six days in a row above 38C. In the previous 30 years, this had only occurred once, in 1979.

In the past 30 years in the Border Rivers, annual rainfall has been relatively stable, decreasing by bout 30mm, or 4 per cent, from 580mm (1959-1988) to 550mm.

Although the average annual rainfall has remained unchanged, it fluctuates from year to year with natural variability.

In the past 30 years, there have been 10 dry years and eight wet years, compared to the nine dry and 11 wet years in the previous 30 years.

The report found throughout the region summer rainfall had been moderately reliable, changing by about 70mm from year-to-year in summer. In contract, spring and autumn rainfall has been less reliable.

Winter falls have been unreliable from year to year over the past 30 years.

In St George, rainfall decreased in both winter and spring seasons in the past 30 years compared to the period prior.

In summer, the rainfall was 17mm lower on average, from 308mm to 291mm.

In the southwest over the past 30 years, the report found annual rainfall had been relatively stable, recording an average of around 400mm in the past 30 years and the period prior.

In the past 30 years, dry years have occurred eight times and wet years 10, compared with the previous period where there were six dry and nine wet years.

Monthly average rainfall charts for Quilpie and Thargomindah show decreases in winter and spring rainfall are being offset by increases in summer monthly averages.

While January averages have decreased across the region, averages for February have increased.

During the past 30 years, growing season rainfall for Quilpie was 247mm, 20mm higher than the 227mm average for the prior period.

For more information, visit www.bom.gov.au/ climate/climate-guides.



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