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Scientists fly into the eye of the storm for cloud research.

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Greg Hunt MP



Joint Media Release 24 May 2005 GH05/069 Scientists fly into the eye of the storm for cloud research Mr Greg Hunt, Parliamentary Secretary with Ministerial responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology and Mr John Forrest, Federal Member for Mallee, announced today that scientists will soon have a better understanding of tropical thunderstorms and their impacts on our climate, thanks to an international cooperative meteorological experiment taking place in Darwin this summer. “Research aircraft from Australia, the US and Europe will be flown into storm clouds to gain an insight into the inner workings of thunderstorms and cirrus ice clouds, as part of the Tropical Warm Pool - International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE) happening between November and February 2006,” Mr Hunt said. “The information collected during this four-month experiment will improve the Bureau’s ability to forecast thunderstorm activity, and will give us valuable information to improve the accuracy of climate modelling. “It will help us better understand cloud systems - how they form and how rainfall can be predicted. I thank John Forrest for his leadership as a national advocate for research into clouds and I know how important the information from this experiment will be to him.” Mr Forrest said the experiment will complement regular monitoring information and produce one of the most complete sets of tropical convection data ever collected. He also expressed his hope that it may provide insight into further developments in cloud seeding research. “The information will be used to validate the accuracy of current satellite data and improve the way clouds are represented in present climate models,” Mr Forrest said. “Weather balloons will be launched every three hours from five sites to collect information on the heat and water exchange in the atmosphere. Intensive measurements will be taken in and around the clouds using several research aircraft supported by ground and sea-based radar, and weather satellites. Measurements will include cloud height, size, thickness, temperature, size of ice crystals and amount of water vapour.” The TWP-ICE will take place during the Australian monsoon season and will focus on a 150-kilometre radius around the Northern Territory capital. CSIRO research vessel Southern Surveyor will be positioned west of Darwin and will observe the interaction of the clouds and the oceans. The TWP-ICE partners are the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Airborne Research Australia, the US Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, NASA, and a consortium of universities in Australia, the US, Canada, Japan and Europe. RAAF Base Darwin will provide facilities and logistics support to the experiment. ENDS MEDIA enquiries: Fiona Murphy 0423 577 045 (Mr Hunt’s office) Sally Turvey (03) 5032 4510 (Mr Forrest’s office)