Man’s Best Friend Can Predict Climate Change

Man’s Best Friend Can Predict Climate Change

Victoria Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh

Farm Dogs Rounded Up To Explain Victoria’s Weather

Victor P Taffa

Man’s best friend is being used to inform farmers about the complexities of weather and climate variability in a series of animations known as the Climate Dogs.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today launched the five 90-second animations to Year 7 students at the Sungold Field Days at Allansford.

“While we can’t control the weather, we have developed tools which can give food producers a better idea of what the season may hold.” Mr. Walsh said.

“The Climatedogs series has been produced by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to explain what drives the climate.”

“The short animated videos use iconic Australian cattle dogs to represent the key determinants of Victoria’s weather patterns.” Mr. Walsh said.

Mr. Walsh said this season had already seen Indy, representing the Indian Ocean Dipole, and Enso, the El Nino Southern Oscillation, working together to produce a wet start to the season.

“Sam is also an important Climatedog, influencing the strength and frequency of cold fronts over Victoria.” Mr. Walsh said.

“While Sam often herds cold fronts up from the Southern Ocean, like some farm dogs, he is unreliable and can change behaviour in a matter of weeks.”

The fourth dog, Ridgy, spends most of his time from November until April chasing away cold fronts around southern Australia, but as winter sets in, he heads north and the cloud fronts find it much easier to reach Victoria and deliver rain.

Mr. Walsh said the summer of 2011 was the wettest Victoria had experienced in a long time.

“It’s no coincidence with both ENSO and INDY teaming up to direct more tropical moisture over us. The last time both of these dogs teamed up was way back in 1975.” Mr. Walsh said.