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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
4 May 2004
Work has begun upgrading the Yarrawonga weather radar to allow scientists and engineers to develop and test new techniques for processing radar data.
Federal Member for Murray Dr Sharman Stone, who as Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage has responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology, said the equipment upgrade that commenced last week, was aimed at improving the efficiency of the radar and its presentation of data.
"The Yarrawonga radar is one of the newest and most advanced radars in the Bureau network," Dr Stone said.
"The current upgrade will prepare the site for conversion to a fully operational Doppler system, which is expected in 2007. Doppler Weather Radars are technically advanced digital radar systems which have the capacity to detect the movement of raindrops as well as rainfall intensity."
Dr Stone said the upgrade will improve the radar's capabilities to collect and interpret data, particularly data on severe weather conditions.
"An early benefit of the current work will be a reduction in radar clutter, which will help make the radar rainfall image easier to interpret," Dr Stone said.
"It will provide a good platform for researchers and engineers to develop techniques to better process and display digital radar signals and means improved weather surveillance, forecasts and warnings, vital for farmers, orchardists and local communities."
Dr Stone said that Yarrawonga is one of six sites nationwide to receive a Doppler Weather Radar facility as part of a five-year federal Government commitment announced in May 2003 to improve meteorological radar systems throughout Australia.
"Yarrrawonga was chosen because of its location in a temperate region and will help in developing weather and flood forecasting and warning tools," Dr Stone said.
While normal weather watch operations may be temporarily interrupted during the development activity, it would lead to improvements to the radar information publicly available from Yarrawonga via the Bureau's website, Dr Stone said.