Melbourne: An Indian-origin researcher
claims to have developed a way to predict droughts six months
before they begin.
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