Thursday , January 28 2021

A new tool to help farmers better fight against drought

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The risk of drought and fire may soon be predictable months in advance, giving Australian predictions a strong new instrument in the battle against our warming climate. Using data from multiple satellites circling the Earth, scientists from the Australian National University began measuring groundwater and soil moisture across the country. When combined with computer modeling to simulate the water cycle and plant growth, it gives the researchers a detailed picture of the water distribution underground and the likely impact on the plants months later. READ ALSO: "In fact, we can predict how likely a plot of land or forest is showing real signs of withering, sometimes as long as six months," said Professor Albert van Dyk. – And there is a lot of Australia where we do not have such information, and that's really important. This means that farmers will be able to predict better whether the harvest will be able to be harvested or whether there will be enough stock pastures. "It will also increase the time we have to deal with the severe consequences of drought by killing livestock and fires," he said. The data is so accurate that the team is able to predict water levels and drought potential in areas up to five kilometers in square. Say your word, send a letter to the editor Support the local news that keeps you informed – subscribe today "And when combined with weather forecasts, this is even stronger," said Professor van Dyk. The research team has already talked with the Meteorology Bureau to find ways to integrate their observations with existing Bureau models and tools. "And not just Australia, we can do this globally," said Professor Van Dyk. The study was published in Nature Communications on Tuesday. Australian Associated Press

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