Terms of Reference
The Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) plays a vital role in the protection of life and property during extreme and natural disaster events. Its expertise and services assist Australians in dealing with extreme events such as drought, floods, fires, storms, tsunami and tropical cyclones.
The Bureau contributes to all aspects of disaster management including planning, preparation, response and recovery. It works with state disaster managers and state and local government agencies in order to provide the best possible meteorological and hydrological advice on which decisions are made.
The recent increased frequency of extreme events has seen increased demands placed on the Bureau for information and advice, including from state and local authorities, communities and the media. These demands can occur across multiple states and over long periods. These trends have been highlighted most recently during the 2010-11 summer, which has seen unprecedented flood events in Queensland and Victoria, Tropical Cyclone Yasi, and severe bushfires in Western Australia. Climate change modelling indicates the incidence and severity of extreme weather and natural disaster events may increase in the future. This review will assess the Bureau's ongoing capacity to respond to such events in the future.
future extreme weather: expected future increase in frequency and intensity of weather patterns leading to severe phenomena such as high winds, tropical cyclones, coastal storm surges, hail, intense rainfall and flash flooding.
natural disaster events: a natural phenomenon leading to a serious disruption to the functioning of a community causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses, including events such as drought, flood, bushfire, earthquake and severe coastal erosion and mud slips.
seasonal forecasting: forecasting to provide guidance on the likelihood of weather patterns over a timescale of several months. This could include guidance on extended periods of below or above average temperatures or rainfall.
Objective and Scope
The Review will:
- Undertake a thorough assessment of the Bureau's capacity to (a) respond to future extreme weather and natural disaster events, and (b) provide accurate and timely seasonal forecasting services.
- Include assessments of:
- the practices, capabilities and resources of the Bureau to respond effectively and efficiently to future extreme weather and natural disaster events;
- the Bureau's workforce capability, including areas of technical expertise such as forecasting and hydrology, and its current and ongoing capacity to deal with periods of peak demand;
- the systems and infrastructure required to meet demand during extreme events;
- the Bureau's capability to conduct seasonal forecasting;
- the balance of the Bureau's other priorities in the context of delivery of the above services.
- Investigate how the Bureau interacts with key stakeholders, including state, territory and federal government agencies and examine the role of the Bureau in communicating warnings and other information to the general public and government agencies, as well as the protocols for this communication.
- Take into consideration the interim report of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry due on 1 August 2011.
- Based on the above assessments, and having regard to the recommendations of previous Bureau reviews, recommend actions required to ensure that the Bureau can meet its responsibilities in relation to future extreme events and seasonal forecasting, including (but not limited to) consideration of:
- opportunities to reinvest or reprioritise existing resources to meet current and expected future demands, without compromising ability to deliver on all Bureau responsibilities.
- opportunities to deliver functions more effectively and efficiently, including through more effective interactions with relevant agencies.
The Review will be led by Chloe Munro with support from a technical expert or experts with expertise in hydrology, meteorology and technical systems. Secretariat support will be provided by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. The review is expected to present its findings to the government by the end of November 2011.
A Government Steering Committee will monitor progress of the review and provide guidance and direction as needed to ensure delivery against the Terms of Reference. The Committee will comprise representatives from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Attorney General's Department, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Bureau.
- Final review report
- Media release: xx - 8 June 2012
- Media release: Review of the Bureau of Meteorology's Capacity - 18 July 2011