SHARED KNOWLEDGE: BOM forecaster Michelle Berry shares her knowledge at Gayndah's Grand Hotel after the climate workshop.
SHARED KNOWLEDGE: BOM forecaster Michelle Berry shares her knowledge at Gayndah's Grand Hotel after the climate workshop. Alex Treacy

Hail to the climate workshop

PRIMARY producers across the North Burnett gained insight into the weather forecasting process and also learnt some of its limitations with a climate workshop in Gayndah yesterday.

Bureau of Meteorology forecasters Rick Threlfall and Michelle Berry were discussing the different tools at the bureau's disposal to the around 30 producers who made the trip when they fielded a question about whether hail can be predicted up to a week out, being it is so destructive to delicate crops.

The answer was, unfortunately not, due to gaps in the data which are more prevalent than other weather events and the localised nature of hail.

As the pair explained, borrowing from the famous thought experiment about trees falling in a forest, if hail falls in a field and melts before it's measured and validated, then has it really hailed?

Queensland Farmer Federation's Ross Henry did, however, interrupt with some good news, revealing both Suncorp and University of Queensland are currently researching hail patterns and how they may be better measured in future.

Mr Henry said that the most important takeaway from the workshop was producers learning about bureau forecasting tool MetEye, which is much more detailed than other tools and can narrow in further than simply using the nearest town's forecast.

"It's amazing, it's the bureau's latest and greatest forecast tool and nobody knows about it,” Mr Henry said.

He said the workshop's success, not only in Gayndah but also Taroom and Rockhampton, where they were also held, "really proved it was the right topic at the right time”.

Mr Henry said the federation would leverage the event's success to lobby for further government funding to continue bringing educational workshops to rural towns and regional centres.

Adele Embrey, who runs goats on her property and travelled from Biggenden for the workshop, said she wasn't even aware of MetEye's existence and will use the tool in future.

Paul Slack, a grazier from Reids Creek, said he learnt he had been interpreting the bureau's rainfall forecasts wrong.

The workshop was a partnership between BOM, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Queensland Farmers' Federation.


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