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

00 - 243
23 October 2000

Australia's Weather - Better or Worse?

How better to prepare for drought, take advantage of favourable weather conditions and reduce the chance of land degradation? These questions will be addressed by participants at a three-day climate conference to be held in Albury today.

Cli-Manage 2000, a forum on the use of climate information in decision making, particularly in the rural sector, will be opened by the Federal Member for Murray and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Sharman Stone. Sharman Stone has responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology as part of her Federal Government portfolio.

"The conference has attracted climate scientists and managers from a range of industries, including agriculture, the environment, insurance, and water resource and fire management," Sharman Stone said.

"Meteorologists at the conference will detail Australia's natural climate variations, while participants will explore ways of reducing weather and climate-related risks associated with their enterprise, and discuss planning for when the odds favour a seasonal upswing. The impact of possible long-term climate change and future research priorities are also on the agenda.

The forum, will also cover a range of related issues, including:

The Bureau's National Climate Centre is the custodian of Australia's climate databank, which dates back to the mid-1800s. The Bureau's present climate services program - including its seasonal outlooks for rainfall and temperature - are built on this knowledge base. Dr Stone says the database is the cumulative work of generations of Bureau staff and volunteers, such as rainfall observers, storm spotters and ships' crews.

"The Bureau's weather volunteers share the aspirations of fellow volunteers involved in programs funded by the National Heritage Trust - such as Landcare and Rivercare - that of working together for the common good of Australia.

Sharman Stone will also announce today that the Bureau of Meteorology will install a new weather radar in North-Central Victoria in the next 18 months. The radar will help the Bureau forecast severe storms and floods over much of northern Victoria and parts of southern New South Wales, she says. It is expected to be operational by March 2002.

Further information:
Dr Sharman Stone's office, tel (02) 6277 2016
Dr John Zillman, Director, Bureau of Meteorology, tel (03) 9669 4558
Dr Bill Downey, Assistant Director (Executive and International Affairs Branch), Bureau of Meteorology, tel (03) 9669 4534
Ms Mary Voice, Superintendent, National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, tel (03) 9669 4086
Mark Jenkin, Public Affairs Unit, Bureau of Meteorology, tel (03) 9669 4552

Commonwealth of Australia