PROGRESS is well under way on a $3.3million Bureau of Meteorology project to provide better seasonal forecasts.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce, and Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt said the project was delivering on the government's Ag White Paper commitment to give farmers more accurate, localised and frequent forecasting information.
"Accurate, detailed and frequent climate outlooks are a vital tool for our farmers in managing risk and informing business decisions, supporting better returns at the farmgate,” Mr Joyce said.
"It's been estimated that the potential value to the agriculture sector of improved seasonal forecasts is more than $1billion each year.
"The new seasonal forecasting service will deliver more localised forecasts, improving the modelling resolution from 250 kilometres down to 60 kilometres, and provide more frequent forecasts, updated weekly instead of monthly.”
Mr Joyce said the project's improved outlook accuracy would give farmers access to the world's best seasonal outlooks for Australia.
"Implementation of the new model and design and testing of the online user interface will commence this year with the new service expected to be incrementally released and fully operational by 2018-19,” Mr Joyce said.
Mr Hunt said it was one of the first projects to leverage off the power of the Bureau's new supercomputer which was funded by the Australian government in 2015.
"The supercomputer is on track to be operational from later this year and will have 20 times the current power,” he said.