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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr Sharman Stone
13 May 2003
The Commonwealth government has committed $62.2 million in the 2003-04 Budget to upgrade Australia's weather radar network with state-of-the-art technology.
Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and his Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Sharman Stone, who has responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology, said the weather radar network is important to all Australians, whether they farm, fly or simply look forward to a day at the beach.
"It is a vital source of real-time information on severe weather for both the public and weather reliant sectors of the economy," Dr Kemp said.
"The funding will support installation of 15 new meteorological radars to replace the Bureau's oldest radars, and allow the upgrading of a further six radars to 'Doppler' capability."
Dr Stone said the introduction of additional Doppler technology is particularly important. Doppler radars make it more possible to accurately monitor wind fields in and around thunderstorms and enable more accurate and reliable detection of severe weather, such as large hail, damaging wind squalls and tornadoes. They can also help the tracking of pollution plumes from major bushfires and industrial accidents.
"As these new Doppler radars are installed, we will see more timely warnings of severe weather. This will save lives, reduce the impact on property and livestock, and support emergency services," she said.
Doppler radars will be installed at Adelaide, Melbourne, Yarrawonga, Sydney, Tamworth and Brisbane. These sites have been selected primarily on the basis of the frequency and impacts of severe weather occurring in their vicinity.
The other 15 radars will replace older units amongst the Bureau's network of 60 radars. The replacements will be installed at Learmonth, Port Hedland, Broome, Perth, Carnarvon, Mt Gambier, East Sale, Williamtown, Townsville, Mackay, Gladstone, Mt Kanighan, Charleville, Darwin, and Tennant Creek.
The Bureau's web site receives around six million radar-related hits a day, many of these now tracking the radar data. For more information see www.bom.gov.au/weather/radar/.
Dr Kemp's office: Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 221 433
Dr Stone's office: Anna Hughes (02) 6277 2016 or 0408 697 055