National climate dogs let off the leash!

all-climatedogs-2

Meet Ridgy, Enso, Indy, Sam, – the four new national climate dogs that explain the latest science behind the key climate drivers bringing wetter and drier years to Australia’s farms.

And while they may look cute, these dogs round up our biggest droughts and floods. Launched today on the Climate Kelpie website, this playful litter of animated sheepdogs help farmers and anyone reliant on the weather understand what influences the variation in Australia’s seasons.

The new national climatedog video animation series was funded by the Managing Climate Variability (MCV) program and builds on the local climatedogs concept initiated by Agriculture Victoria.

“The climatedogs have been redone to be relevant to all regions of Australia,” says climate specialist Graeme Anderson, with Agriculture Victoria.

The videos have also been updated with the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest science through research funded by MCV.

“They explain how each climate driver operates, how they affect our seasons and how some of the dogs are starting to behave a bit differently,” Anderson says.

“In the last few years, Ridgy has been playing around with southern Australia’s weather. And Indy, who rounds up moisture from the warm north-east Indian Ocean across to south-eastern Australia, is looking a bit hot under the collar at the moment.

“It’s Indy who has been the dog bringing our current wetter weather conditions to the south-east.”

Dr Tom Davison from Meat & Livestock Australia, who manage the MCV program, says the climatedogs are an important tool to help the program to communicate its research.

“These animations are a small part of the wider work we are doing to better understand what drives the variability in our climate,” he says. “This understanding allows us to manage that variability into the future, and assist farmers in running more profitable, sustainable and competitive businesses.”

The kennel of national climatedogs includes:

Ridgy – Subtropical Ridge – a major driver of southern Australia’s seasons

Enso – El Nino Southern Oscillation – influences seasonal variability across Australia

Indy – Indian Ocean Dipole – delivers spring rainfall to southeast and central Australia

Sam – Southern Annular Mode – brings cold fronts from the Southern Ocean

 

The national dogs join two local climatedogs developed for Victoria and NSW:

Eastie – East Coast Lows – key weather systems in the south-east

Mojo – Madden-Julian Oscillation – influences weather systems in northern Australia.

 

Watch all the climatedogs in action: http://climatekelpie.com.au/understand-climate/climatedogs

Managing Climate Variability is Australia’s research and development program on climate variability. MCV provides climate knowledge to primary producers and natural resource managers. MCV is funded by Meat & Livestock Australia, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Cotton Research & Development Corporation, the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation and Sugar Research Australia.

Key Facts and Figures

Examples of how the climatedogs have affected Australians:

  • Some of our bigger drought events like 2006 saw Enso, Indy and Sam all at the drier end of their range at the same time.
  • The wet 2010 for south-eastern Australia was when Enso and Indy both teamed up at the wetter end of the scale, so these dogs are worth keeping track of.
  • Climate drivers basically set up pre-cursor conditions for wetter or drier years. The climatedogs might only get ‘off the leash’ once every few years, but when they do it’s worth knowing what mood they are in.
  • The climatedogs have varying impacts across Australia, so it’s important to know how and when each one affects your district. The MCV program focuses on new research to help better understand and explain the drivers to improve people’s use of seasonal forecasts.

Jump straight to the dog you’re interested in:

The roundup Enso Indy Ridgy Sam
animated dogs rounding up weather on a map of Australia animated dog called Enso animated dog called Indy animated dog called Ridgy animated dog called Sam

Our national Climatedogs are supported by Victorian and NSW Climatedogs Eastie and Mojo, specially bred for their local conditions.

Eastie Mojo
animated dog called Eastie animated dog called Mojo
The dogs Watch them
The roundup

animated dogs rounding up weather on a map of Australia
Enso

animated dog called Enso

The El Niño Southern Oscillation, or Enso, has a big influence on Australia’s climate and seasonal variability.

During La Niña, Enso chases greater amounts of moist tropical air across Australia, and many of those years see higher winter and spring rainfall across large parts of Australia.

During El Niño, Enso changes its mind and drives warm moist air away from Australia, often resulting in a drier winter and spring for eastern Australia, as well as an increased chance of frost and heatwave events.

Indy

animated dog called Indy

This is the Indian Ocean Dipole, also known as Indy, who influences south-east and central Australia’s rainfall, mainly in spring.

Indy likes to herd moisture from the warm north-east Indian Ocean across to south-eastern Australia.

When this moist air meets up with southern weather systems, it can deliver significant rainfall.

Some years, the north-eastern Indian Ocean is cooler than normal, meaning less evaporation and Indy can’t deliver as much moisture, usually meaning a drier spring in the centre and south-east.

Ridgy

animated dog called Ridgy

Ridgy is great at blocking rain-bearing fronts. From November through until April, Ridgy chases away cold fronts around southern Australia for days or even weeks at a time.

When winter sets in, Ridgy heads north and cold fronts find it much easier to reach southern Australia and deliver their rain, until Ridgy returns again next November.

Sam

animated dog called Sam

Meet Sam. Sam herds cold fronts up from the Southern Ocean, a significant source of rain for much of southern Australia.

If we take a look at the Southern Ocean, we can see westerly winds roaring around Antarctica, throwing out cold fronts of stormy wet weather.

The strength and position of these winds is known as the Southern Annular Mode, or Sam.

Sam is an unreliable climate dog, often changing behaviour over a matter of weeks.

This can affect southern Australia’s rainfall in winter, and even parts of eastern and northern Australia’s rainfall in summer.

 

And, while not large-scale climate drivers, these 2 climatedogs can bring weather systems that affect seasonal variability in parts of Australia.

 

Eastie

animated dog called Eastie

Eastie represents the deep low-pressure systems that are an important climate feature along the south-east coast of Australia.

These deep low-pressure systems can be caused by upper-atmosphere disturbances, decaying cyclones, existing low-pressure conditions or in the wake of passing fronts.

This energetic little dog can be triggered into action overnight causing strong winds, big surf, heavy rains and lots of rough weather.

Eastie can appear all year round but typically prefers the seasons of autumn and winter.

Mojo

animated dog called Mojo

He can have a big influence on Australia’s weather and climate, especially during the warmest months of the year.

Mojo sends a wave of weather across the Indian Ocean which can create cyclones and bring widespread rain events through parts of Australia.

Mojo mainly affects northern Australia, but can influence rain events further south, especially if one of Mojo’s moisture waves feeds into a timely weather event down south.

 

The Climatedogs are proudly funded by Managing Climate Variability.While we can’t control what these climate dogs are up to, there are new and improved tools that can assist farmers to keep an eye on the pack, helping to improve our understanding of seasonal forecasts and manage climate risk.

Victoria and NSW already have their own specially bred, local versions of the Climatedogs, which you can watch online:

You can download the Australian Climatedog script (PDF 425 kb), or learn more about each state’s climate drivers in more detail on this site.

Grab the leash. Find out from the Climatedogs what drives the climate in your state.

The roundup

animated dogs rounding up weather on a map of Australia
Enso

animated dog called Enso
Indy

animated dog called Indy
Ridgy

animated dog called Ridgy
Sam

animated dog called Sam

Our national Climatedogs are supported by Victorian and NSW Climatedogs Eastie and Mojo, specially bred for their local conditions.

Eastie

animated dog called Eastie
Mojo

animated dog called Mojo

Contact Details

For interview:

Graeme Anderson, Agriculture Victoria, email: Graeme.Anderson@ecodev.vic.gov.au, phone: 0419 002 641

Dr Tom Davison, Managing Climate Variability / Meat & Livestock Australia, email:tdavison@mla.com.au, phone: 0411 680 741

For media assistance:
Jenni Metcalfe, email: jenni@econnect.com.au; phone: 0408 551 866

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