New tool to predict drought in advance

New tool to predict drought in advance

Forecast: The new device measures water and climatic  variables to assess dryness and predict drought conditions.

Shishutosh Barua of Victoria University in Australia says the tool measures several water and climatic variables to assess dryness in an area and then uses past circumstances to predict future drought conditions.

“The tool is capable of forecasting drought conditions six months in advance. This early detection of droughts will help water managers to implement drought mitigation strategies and measures before droughts occur,” Dr Barua said.

As part of his research, he also used the model to accurately detect past major historical droughts in Victoria.

Dr Barua said previous prediction models focused on rainfall deficiency but that his model measured water storage, stream flow, water in the soil and evaporation so as to gain a broader and more accurate assessment of a catchment’s dryness. He said the recent 13-year drought showed how vulnerable people were to water shortages in Australia and said that he hoped the tool would allow governments and water authorities to better prepare for the next inevitable drought.

“There have been frequent droughts in the past 60 years and there will be more frequent drought in the coming years according to the climate change scenario analysis.

“I hope this tool can be used to forecast future drought conditions and useful for water managers to plan ahead the water management activities during droughts,” Dr Barua said.

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