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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage


23 November 2000

Regional and Rural Australia to benefit from free Bureau Radar Images on the Web


Images from the Bureau of Meteorology's national radar network are now available on the Internet, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, announced today.

"From Monday 27th November, radar images of the weather at 42 sites across the country are a simple mouse-click away. All capital cities are covered by the service, as well as a large number of rural and remote communities", Dr Stone said.

"This sort of information is extremely useful to a very broad cross-section of the community, from farmers to fishermen, to emergency service personnel, tourism operators and even the local cricket association, planning the weekend's fixtures."

"Radar gives a snapshot of areas experiencing rain as well as an estimate of how heavily the rain is falling. This has proved very useful for communities in the grip of extreme weather. The Bowen Shire Council, in Queensland, were able to access this information from the Bureau earlier this year to help prepare for the flooding of the Don River."

"Radar images of hazardous weather, such as tropical cyclones and severe thunderstorms can also be very informative when accompanied by the latest weather warnings from the Bureau. The Bureau's website also carries the latest weather forecast."

Dr Stone said that the Internet was a great way to deliver this kind of real-time, pictorial information to a wide audience.

"The Bureau's web site is one of the most popular of Government sites. During a tropical cyclone, "hit rates" can be as high as 2 million per day."

Phase 1 of the new service is the provision of single images of the latest radar scan at each site. Following this, the Bureau's Internet systems will be carefully monitored to accommodate any extra public demand.

If all goes well, Phase 2 will be implemented by the end of December this year, at which point animated loops of the last three images will also be made available. These are especially useful for tracking the movement of rain-bearing systems. The ongoing availability of radar images will be reviewed from time to time as part of the normal processes that ensure that the Bureau's Internet systems are used most effectively.

"The basic data images will be freely available. Users who want specifically processed or additional radar image info will be asked to meet the costs of any extra work involved.

"We look forward to public feedback on this new service."

The radar images, together with other weather and climate information can be found on the Bureau of Meteorology's website at: www.bom.gov.au.

For further information, please contact:

Simon Frost 0419 495 468 or (02) 6277 2016
Thursday, 23 November 2000

Commonwealth of Australia