Weather services across Cape York will be faster and more accurate thanks to an upgrade of the Weipa radar.
The Bureau of Meteorology has replaced and upgraded the Weipa weather watch radar, which will provide more frequent, higher resolution Doppler images on the Bureau's website from today.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Bob Baldwin said the $3.5 million investment would ensure the radar continues to provide Cape York communities with the best available real-time weather information.
“This new radar will provide enhanced services to emergency services, bauxite mining and graziers in the northern Cape York region thanks to the ability it has to detail real-time information to track local weather,” Mr Baldwin said.
“It will do so with more frequent updates of higher resolution images, going from scans every 10 minutes, to more regular updates every 6 minutes.
“The new Doppler data from this radar will provide forecasters with improved ‘nowcasting’ capabilities to more accurately monitor severe weather events including tropical cyclones, floods and thunderstorms.
“It is well located for detecting tropical cyclones over the north eastern Gulf of Carpentaria and for tracking thunderstorms approaching Weipa and the RAAF Base Scherger from inland.”
Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the Australian Government was committed to investing in the essential services provided by the Bureau.
“Funding for the replacement of the Weipa radar and initiatives such as the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and the Developing Northern Australia White Paper show we are committed to rural and regional Australian communities,” Mr Entsch said.
“The forecasts and warnings provided by the Bureau are essential to the economic livelihood of the nation, including the construction, resources, agriculture and marine industries, and the nation’s defence forces.”
Meteorologists extract important information from the radar, on the location, intensity and movement of storms and rainfall, and on the associated wind fields. They combine this information with other observations, such as satellite and surface observations, and with numerical models, as a basis for weather forecasts and warnings.
The Weipa radar has good visibility in most directions and is able to detect precipitation from the Torres Strait in the north, the north eastern Gulf of Carpentaria, and to Pompuraaw in the south.
The Weipa area will also benefit from the new supercomputer, which will enable the Bureau to provide more detailed forecasts for severe weather events including the tropical cyclones that regularly traverse the Gulf and Coral Sea.
The Weipa Radar Loop can be viewed at http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR783.loop.shtml