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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

2 March 2004

Climate on the OUTLOOK agenda


What climate change means for the weather and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's practical role in helping the country deal with possible new weather patterns are issues for discussion today at the annual Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) Outlook 2004 conference.

"The Bureau has an important role in identifying any changes in weather patterns and the consequences for the nation," Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, said.

"The Outlook conference gives the Bureau a valuable opportunity to discuss the impact of climate change on weather events with representatives from the rural, environment, forestry, fishing, energy and minerals sectors.

"Issues for discussion include if, when, why and how we are experiencing the effects of climate change. Australia recently experienced its hottest weather spell since 1939, but it occurred in February, later that than the traditional hottest month of January."

The Bureau will host a conference session titled 'Climate - Economic applications of climate research'. Director of Meteorology, Dr Geoff Love, will discuss the implications of climate change for climate variability. The head of the Bureau's commercial unit, Dr Don Gunasekera, will also present a workshop paper on the Bureau's practical role in disaster mitigation and warning.

"The 400 million hits on the Bureau's website last month shows how important rainfall updates and outlooks from the National Climate Centre are to rural and regional Australians faced with drought.

"Improved science is creating a better understanding of the influences on our climate. This makes the Bureau's climate outlooks more accurate and useful," Dr Stone said.

"The issues covered during Outlook 2004 are those which are critical for the survival of Australia's major agricultural, fisheries and natural resources industries.

"Bureau of Meteorology experts will be providing important advice to the nation's decision-makers in these fields," Dr Stone said.

Full details of Outlook 2004 can be found at http://www.abare.gov.au/outlook/

Further information:
Jim Elliott (Acting Assistant Director, BOM National Operations) 03 9669 4179

Commonwealth of Australia