Zhu, Q, Yang, X, Yu, B, Tulau, M, McInnes-Clarke, S, Nolan, RH, Du, Z & Yu, Q 2019, 'Estimation of event-based rainfall erosivity from radar after wildfire', Land Degradation and Development, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 33-48.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Rainfall erosivity impacts all stages of hillslope erosion processes and is an important factor (the 'R factor') in the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation. It is estimated as the average annual value of the sum of all erosive events (EI30) over a period of many years. For each storm event, the EI30 value is the product of storm energy, E in MJ ha−1, and peak 30-min rainfall intensity (I30, mm hr−1). Previous studies often focused on estimation of the R factor for prediction of mean annual or long-term soil losses. However, many applications require EI30 values at much higher temporal resolution, such as postfire soil erosion monitoring, which requires a time step at storm events or on a daily basis. In this study, we explored the use of radar rainfall data to estimate the storm event-based EI30 after a severe wildfire in Warrumbungle National Park in eastern Australia. The radar-derived rainfall data were calibrated against 12 tipping bucket rain gauges across an area of 239 km2 and subsequently used to produce a time series of rainfall erosivity maps at daily intervals since the wildfire in January 2013. The radar-derived daily rainfall showed good agreement with the gauge measurements (R2 > 0.70, Ec = 0.66). This study reveals great variation in EI30 values ranging from near zero to 826.76 MJ·mm·ha−1·hr−1 for a single storm event. We conclude that weather radar rainfall data can be used to derive timely EI30 and erosion information for fire incident management and erosion control. The methodology developed in this study is generic and thus readily applicable to other areas where weather radar data are available.
Wang, B, Liu, DL, O'Leary, GJ, Asseng, S, Macadam, I, Lines-Kelly, R, Yang, X, Clark, A, Crean, J, Sides, T, Xing, H, Mi, C & Yu, Q 2018, 'Australian wheat production expected to decrease by the late 21st century.', Global change biology, vol. 24.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Climate change threatens global wheat production and food security, including the wheat industry in Australia. Many studies have examined the impacts of changes in local climate on wheat yield per hectare, but there has been no assessment of changes in land area available for production due to changing climate. It is also unclear how total wheat production would change under future climate when autonomous adaptation options are adopted. We applied species distribution models to investigate future changes in areas climatically suitable for growing wheat in Australia. A crop model was used to assess wheat yield per hectare in these areas. Our results show that there is an overall tendency for a decrease in the areas suitable for growing wheat and a decline in the yield of the northeast Australian wheat belt. This results in reduced national wheat production although future climate change may benefit South Australia and Victoria. These projected outcomes infer that similar wheat-growing regions of the globe might also experience decreases in wheat production. Some cropping adaptation measures increase wheat yield per hectare and provide significant mitigation of the negative effects of climate change on national wheat production by 2041-2060. However, any positive effects will be insufficient to prevent a likely decline in production under a high CO2 emission scenario by 2081-2100 due to increasing losses in suitable wheat-growing areas. Therefore, additional adaptation strategies along with investment in wheat production are needed to maintain Australian agricultural production and enhance global food security. This scenario analysis provides a foundation towards understanding changes in Australia's wheat cropping systems, which will assist in developing adaptation strategies to mitigate climate change impacts on global wheat production.
Yang, X, Gray, J, Chapman, G, Zhu, Q, Tulau, M & McInnes-Clarke, S 2018, 'Digital mapping of soil erodibility for water erosion in New South Wales, Australia', Soil Research, vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 158-170.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© CSIRO 2018. Soil erodibility represents the soil's response to rainfall and run-off erosivity and is related to soil properties such as organic matter content, texture, structure, permeability and aggregate stability. Soil erodibility is an important factor in soil erosion modelling, such as the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), in which it is represented by the soil erodibility factor (K-factor). However, determination of soil erodibility at larger spatial scales is often problematic because of the lack of spatial data on soil properties and field measurements for model validation. Recently, a major national project has resulted in the release of digital soil maps (DSMs) for a wide range of key soil properties over the entire Australian continent at approximately 90-m spatial resolution. In the present study we used the DSMs and New South Wales (NSW) Soil and Land Information System to map and validate soil erodibility for soil depths up to 100cm. We assessed eight empirical methods or existing maps on erodibility estimation and produced a harmonised high-resolution soil erodibility map for the entire state of NSW with improvements based on studies in NSW. The modelled erodibility values were compared with those from field measurements at soil plots for NSW soils and revealed good agreement. The erodibility map shows similar patterns as that of the parent material lithology classes, but no obvious trend with any single soil property. Most of the modelled erodibility values range from 0.02 to 0.07 t ha h ha-1 MJ-1 mm-1 with a mean (± s.d.) of 0.035±0.007 t ha h ha-1 MJ-1 mm-1. The validated K-factor map was further used along with other RUSLE factors to assess soil loss across NSW for preventing and managing soil erosion.
Wang, B, Liu, DL, Asseng, S, Macadam, I, Yang, X & Yu, Q 2017, 'Spatiotemporal changes in wheat phenology, yield and water use efficiency under the CMIP5 multimodel ensemble projections in eastern Australia', Climate Research, vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 83-99.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© Inter-Research 2017. The New South Wales (NSW) wheat belt is one of the most important regions for winter crops in Australia; however, its agricultural system is significantly affected by water stress and ongoing climate change. Statistically downscaled scenarios from 13 selected global climate models with RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios were combined with crop simulation models to simulate wheat productivity and water use. We projected that multi-model median yields could increase by 0.2% for RCP4.5 and 9.0% for RCP8.5 by 2061-2100. Although RCP4.5 showed a small decrease in median yield in the dry southwestern parts of the wheat belt, the higher CO 2 concentration in RCP8.5 compensated some of the negative effects, resulting in 12.6% yield increase. Our results show that drier areas would benefit more from elevated CO 2 than would the wetter areas. Without the increase in CO 2 concentration, wheat yields decrease rapidly under RCP4.5 by 2061-2100 and much more so under RCP8.5 compared to the present. A decline in growing season length and a decrease in rainfall resulted in reduced crop water consumption. As a consequence, simulated evapotranspiration decreased by 10.2% for RCP4.5 and 16.9% for RCP8.5 across the NSW wheat belt. Increasing yields combined with decreasing evapotranspiration resulted in a simulated increase in water use efficiency by 9.9% for RCP4.5 and 29.7% for RCP8.5. Wheat production in water-limited, low-yielding environments appears to be less negatively impacted or in some cases even positively affected under future climate and CO 2 changes, compared to other growing environments in the world.