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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 464

Bowen Airport: Weather Station

(Question No. 705)

Mr Christensen asked the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, in writing, on 1 November 2011:

(1) Is he aware that the weather station located at the Bowen Aerodrome is a manual system which means that weather data is recorded at three-hourly intervals.

(2) Is he aware of the impact that this has on weather observations in the town, particularly during tropical cyclones in the Bowen region.

(3) Would he consider the implementation of an Automated Weather Station, which provides weather observations at half-hourly intervals, and a more accurate weather forecast.

Mr Burke: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Bowen Airport is a part of the Bureau's Cooperative Observer network which is a manual network. Bowen Airport provides observations up to every three hours.

(2) The Bureau of Meteorology operates a composite weather observations network which uses a range of technologies to inform the forecasting process. In the early stages of cyclone forecasting, and prior to landfall, key information is provided by a number of tools such as satellite and radars, supplemented by offshore automatic weather stations. Typically, land-based manual and automatic weather stations are used to provide confirmation of the forecast and to assist with impact assessment.

(3) There is an existing network of seven automatic weather stations along the Townsville to Proserpine coastline as well as several manual stations and offshore weather stations. A weather station providing higher frequency data is not likely to make a significant difference to the accuracy of the forecast in this area because the existing network provides adequate information to inform the models and forecasters.