Nov. 2, 2021

Prof Roger Stone - On Climate & Agriculture – risk, seasonal forecasting for drought resilience & more

Prof Roger Stone - On Climate & Agriculture –  risk, seasonal forecasting for drought resilience & more

Roger Stone is an Australian and international leader in climate science and a big believer in the value of seasonal forecasting to help farmers, communities and governments plan for and manage risks associated with drought and other extreme events. Listen in to this episode in which we discuss climate change and forecasting, learn about ENSO, the Southern Oscillation Index, El Nino, La Nina and perspectives on managing for drought, climate risk and change. 


Roger works with The Centre for Climate Science, University of Southern Queensland (USQ), that’s one of the very few centres in the world that works at the interface of climate and agriculture helping producers here and internationally. He is the Founding and past Director of the Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation for Southern Queensland and Northern NSW also at USQ. Watch this space – there are eight hubs getting underway across Australia to help rural communities tackle the tough challenges of climate adaptation …


Australia is on the brutal receiving end of climate change and we have long had the highest rainfall variability on earth and that’s set to become more extreme. So, robust, seasonal forecasting will be all the more key for farmers, communities and governments – to help plan and build toward greater resilience and for effective disaster management planning as extreme events occur within ‘months’ of each other. 


The knowledge and advice that Roger, and colleagues, provide to farmers, large and small, the re-insurance industry and government stakeholders – here and internationally – is changing lives and economic futures in a changing climate.  More than a pleasure. A deep privilege to speak with and learn from Roger, an eminent Australian and scientist. 


We talk …

  • “Flash droughts” and heat waves and relate the latest IPCC Report to here and now 
  • How farm level, local and regional, place-based climate forecasting is key to future production 
  • ENSO – what happens in the central Pacific Ocean drives our weather and climate
  • The SOI – a very useful index and forecasting tool …it told us the 2019 fire season was coming 
  • The Murray Darling Basin has the highest variability of stream flows of any system on earth
  • The coffee industry – the second most traded commodity on earth, is highly vulnerable
  • We’re playing catch up – the State Of Play, the interface between extreme weather events at the regional level and climate change – think western Canada, USA heat bubbles and ‘domes’ 
  • How weather and climate forecasting needs to be able to drill down to the regional, sub-regional level to provide meaningful decision-making data and advice 
  • Seasonal to multi-year forecasting is the focus, tailored to specific regions and places, on the ground – for farmers, catchment management and NRM  
  • The CSIRO Drought Resilience Mission to reduce the economic impact of drought by 30%  – will build on incredible research Australia has already to hand…
  • Mosaic agriculture and how climate change is influencing investment priorities 
  • Key challenges? Include, the need to build and bring climate modelling and its interface with variability modelling into greater focus and detail
  • …and a whole lot more!


Professor Roger C Stone, PhD, FRMetSoc, Hon Professor in Climate Science.


University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia.


  • Vice President: Commission for Weather, Climate, Water, and Related Environmental Services and Applications (SERCOM); Chair, Standing Committee on Services to Agriculture; World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Geneva, Switzerland.





  • Past Director and now, Honorary Professor, Centre for Applied Climate Sciences, University of Southern Queensland



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