Will it Rain on the Grain? PhD scholarships available.

30 November 2009

Grain Growers will know that successful grain production depends heavily on reliable seasonal rainfall and temperature forecasts. However, the highly variable climate means that current forecasts lack detail in space and time.

Success in the last ARC Linkage round means that, together with Industry partner the Grain Growers Association (GGA), Dr. Willem Vervoort, Dr. Budiman Minasny and Professor Alex McBratney can work on the delivery of better seasonal forecasts for grain growers.

The project, which will run over three years, has two scholarships available for qualified students to take on a PhD. The scholarships are conditional on the University signing an agreement with the Partner Organisation GGA.

Using a combination of 'fuzzy' classification and artificial neural networks, this project will develop a locally detailed continuously updating data-driven seasonal forecast system. The system will use high density climate data that GGA members will have the opportunity to provide, as well as climate drivers such as sea surface temperature from the Bureau of Meteorology. After validation against observed data, the forecasts will be delivered via a web-based portal to users. The project is expected to commence in the first few months of 2010 and we will be seeking cooperation from GGA members to assist in providing farm rainfall records to assist this project.

Contact: Dr Willem Vervoort

Phone: 02 8627 1054

Email: 396a3e0728262438153c092f4b3d331e565143791413