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During the last decade, research has made important advances in improving and applying our understanding of Australia’s climate so as to benefit the climate-sensitive sectors of the economy. This publication presents information on a wide range of research projects relevant to managing climate variability in agriculture and other natural resources. The contents update the earlier Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation (LWRRDC) publication Drought Research in Progress - 1993.

The 1993 publication was part of a new program of research on managing drought and climate variability. This was one of the initiatives associated with implementing the National Drought Policy which came into being in 1992. Its third and current phase, known as the Climate Variability in Agriculture R&D Program (CVAP), was launched in 1998. The Commonwealth Department, Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Australia, is the major supporter of CVAP together with several of the rural R&D corporations.

This publication is a result of one of the first projects within CVAP. The project was undertaken with NSW Agriculture to give them a better planning base for expanding their services in climate applications.

The scope of research covered by this publication includes, but is much broader than, the specific projects undertaken by CVAP which aims to better prepare the agricultural sector to respond to the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability. As a national program, CVAP concentrates on collaborative and cross-industry projects as part of its national leadership role in climate applications in agriculture.

A key reason for undertaking the project was the need for many researchers new to climate applications to be aware of readily available references to current and recent research. It will therefore provide a better basis for efficient planning of research and extension projects. In addition to a hard copy version, the publication will also be accessible through the LWRRDC and CVAP websites at and respectively.

The projects listed in the publication have been contributed by a wide range of researchers and organisations around Australia. Their cooperation is gratefully acknowledged. Databases such as Australian Rural Research in Progress (ARRIP) have also been searched. Enhancements including details on research progress and scientific publications have been added.

Despite the obvious difficulties in tightly defining such an all-pervasive topic as climate, this publication should be near complete in most respects. The choice of projects has been guided by research which has addressed strategies and adaptations to cope with climate variability or droughts, particularly with respect to the agricultural sector and related areas of natural resource management. Thus there is only limited coverage of projects in climatology and oceanography, primarily those that CVAP or its predecessors had direct involvement in.

A companion publication in the CV Series,‘Agricultural climate research and services in Australia’ is also of value in gaining an awareness of the current Australian effort. This companion publication reviews the information and services available, for example by States of Australia and by a range of topics. NSW Agriculture contracted David White of ASIT Consulting to prepare the publications with assistance from the departmental co-authors Graeme Tupper and Harpil Mavi.

Barry White
Climate Variability in Agriculture R&D Program
October 1999

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