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Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

12 May 2005

New critical weather satellite data available

Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with Ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology today announced that the Crib Point Satellite Earth Station near Hastings in Victoria has received the first test images of cloud conditions across Australia from Japan's newest geostationary meteorological satellite.

"Images from the MTSAT-1R satellite will complement the Bureau's ground based network of observations from radars, automatic weather stations and trained weather observers," Mr Hunt said.

"This is an excellent example of how the Bureau applies the latest technology to improve our understanding of the weather and how we deliver weather services to the community.

"It will provide satellite cloud images like the ones seen on TV which help forecasters track the birth, life, movement and demise of weather systems that affect Australians, particularly those approaching Australia from surrounding ocean areas where conventional observations are sparse.

"By June the satellite will go operational and hourly images will then be processed and transmitted in real time to weather forecasters around Australia.

"The data will also be exchanged globally with Europe and the USA as part of international cooperative arrangements in meteorology.

"Since 1977, Japan has been providing geostationary meteorological satellite coverage over the Asia-Pacific region.

"As part of a bilateral cooperative agreement, Australia accesses the data free of charge.

"Both countries contribute to the exchange of weather data as part of the World Weather Watch system of the World Meteorological Organization.

"Australia has also been working with China and the USA to ensure the delivery of essential meteorological satellite coverage."

Mr Hunt thanked the Japan Meteorological Agency for its goodwill and ongoing commitment to the free availability of meteorological satellite data.

Background information

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office)  0423 577 045

Commonwealth of Australia