Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Drought Could Stretch On

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Drought Could Stretch On

Article excerpt

I KNOW, I KNOW as I write this that there is rain predicted courtesy of ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen. But, hard as might be to imagine, the sun is still burning brightly over most of our inland. Yes, the drought goes on...and on... and on. I spoke to eminent Professor Roger Stone this week. He has some alarming news. He is predicting that the pre-El Nino conditions that exist now will mature quickly and that our inland areas will stay in its grip until well into 2020. If this happens it will push hundreds of Queensland farmers and graziers into their eighth and ninth years of drought. For some it will be a decade. That is if the inland misses out on drenching rain from, ex-Owen.

Prof Stone, a climatologist, from the University of Southern Queensland, works in a global position with the United Nation's World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). He is the first Australian to be president of the WMO's Commission for Agricultural Meteorology.

Speaking to News Corp after returning from Berlin and Geneva this week, he said American weather models were predicting the El Nino to extend into 2020. He thinks the El Nino will be "here with a vengeance from February onwards". The Australian Bureau of Meteorology describes the current conditions as an "El Nino ALERT".

"The longer term picture is that drought does not look like going away. The El Nino is having a rest at the moment which is why we are seeing some showers, but it will be back in the New Year," Prof Stone said.

Mines ramping up

COAL miner Adani is cranking up out there on Moray Downs. I was at a marble quarry outside Greenvale a couple of weeks ago. Sahil Aggarwal, a buyer from India was there inspecting the world quality marble, which he said was in high demand from India's rising middle class. I mentioned to him that an Indian company was wanting to start a large coal mining operation south-west of Townsville. …

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