Magazine article Ecos

'Climate Dogs' Get Science across to Farmers

Magazine article Ecos

'Climate Dogs' Get Science across to Farmers

Article excerpt

What do sheep dogs have in common with Victoria's erratic weather? A lot, as farm extension staff at the state's Department of Primary Industries (DPI) discovered when faced with the challenge of communicating climate change science to farmers, many of whom are sceptical about climate change.

The DPI team have created four animated 'climate dog' characters--based on typical farm dogs--to show farmers how Victoria's four main climate drivers work to 'round up' or scatter storm clouds over the state.

'When you visit a farm, you're surrounded by sheep dogs; explains the DPI's Mr Graeme Anderson. 'In terms of behaviour, you never know which ones will be OK and which ones will come up and nip you. And, just like moving a mob of sheep, if the sheep dogs do the right thing, the farmer will have a good day. But if the dogs do the wrong thing, they'll scatter the mob everywhere.'

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The DPI team worked with a Melbourne-based animator to create a series of short videos that illustrate how the behaviour of each climate system--represented as the dogs Enso, Indy, Sam and Ridgy--affects Victoria's weather.

Enso represents the El Nino Southern Oscillation, the well-known cycle that results in moisture-laden Pacific trade winds blowing from South America towards Australia (La Nina) in some years, with the reverse (El Nino) causing drought in Australia at other times. The three other dogs represent the Indian Ocean Dipole (Indy), the Southern Annular Mode (Sam), and the Sub-tropical Ridge (Ridgy).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

'We took the approach [of cutting] it back to the essentials: what are each of these drivers doing to Victoria's rainfall?' says Mr Anderson.

Through an earlier survey of 1500 farmers, the DPI found only 30 per cent accepted the idea of human-induced global warming. The other 70 per cent were either uncertain or disagreed with the idea.

'A lot of farmers are sceptical about climate change,' says Mr Anderson. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.