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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

1 December 2005

Perth to host international cyclone conference

Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology today announced an International Workshop on Tropical/Extratropical Interactions, incorporating the Third International Workshop on Extratropical Transition (IWET-III) in Perth, Western Australia from 5-9 December 2005.

The Bureau is hosting the meeting in association with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Tropical Meteorology Research Programme.

Internationally renowned scientists are assembling to address the phenomena that result when weather systems from tropical and extratropical sources impact each other.

"Tropical cyclones remain one of the greatest threats to mankind," Mr Hunt said. "Usually they weaken as they move out of their tropical domain but, under special conditions, cyclones can undergo a process called extratropical transition where they intensify or maintain their strength in the more temperate zones."

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said it was fitting the conference should be held in Perth, as the State was particularly prone to cyclones.

"The north west Australian coast is a prolific breeding area for tropical cyclones - it experiences an average of about four to five cyclones each year."

"Thousands of West Australians will remember Cyclone Alby in April, 1978. It remains one of the most severe weather events ever experienced in my home State, having killed five people and caused damage worth approximately $39 million," Senator Campbell said.

Mr Hunt explained that extratropical cyclones were accompanied by flood rains on one side of their path and very hot and windy conditions. "Sea conditions in these storms are phenomenal and coastal erosion is a significant problem."

Delegates from other parts of the world affected by extratropical transition including North America, Asia, Japan, Korea, China and New Zealand are also participating in the workshop.

Other parts of the world affected by extratropical transition include the east coasts of North America and Asia including Japan, Korea and China, and the southwest Pacific Ocean including New Zealand. Delegates from all of these areas are participating in the workshop.

"The Bureau of Meteorology has been prominent in this field of research for many years and this conference has attracted interest from other international activities such as the global THORPEX observing and research program and the International Polar Year."

"The global scientific community is investigating the ongoing effects of interactions which may contribute to further outbreaks of severe weather," Mr Hunt said.

For further information contact Mr Gary Foley, Bureau of Meteorology (0439 992 180)

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 0418 568 434 - 02 6277 7640
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's office) 0415 740 722 - 02 6277 2276

Commonwealth of Australia