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

15 April 2005

Kuwaiti meteorological delegation visits Crib Point


Mr Greg Hunt, Parliamentary Secretary with Ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, today welcomed a delegation from the Kuwait National Meteorological Centre at the Bureau's weather satellite receiving station at Crib Point on the Mornington Peninsula.

The Kuwaiti delegation comprises Khaled Shuaibi (Director of Meteorology) and Jamal Abdul-Raheem (Superintendent of the Forecasting Division). The visit is from April 11 to 15.

Mr Hunt said the visit to Crib Point gave the Kuwaiti delegation a chance to learn more about the infrastructure necessary to support quality meteorological services provided by the Bureau.

"The Crib Point station is the Bureau's largest and most important satellite reception facility in Australia," Mr Hunt said.

"It has excellent horizon to horizon coverage of the sky for tracking polar orbiting satellites and is a reception point for information from geostationary meteorological satellites located above the equator. This enables coverage of the whole Australian region on an hourly basis.

"During tropical cyclone Ingrid, which spent over a fortnight in March travelling across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, the Crib Point facility played an important role in receiving data and relaying it to the Bureau's Head Office in Melbourne for distribution to Bureau forecasting centres and the public, via the Bureau's website, in real time."

The Kuwaiti delegation is particularly interested in observations and computing infrastructure, service delivery, research and training.

As part of their visit, they are undertaking discussions with senior Bureau officers on the possibility of a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation in the development and application of meteorological techniques. The memorandum may also help establish other regional ties.

Earlier Australian meteorological links to the Middle East include the Bureau's significant role in upgrading Saudi Arabia's meteorological infrastructure during much of the 1980s, and a 2004 Bureau memorandum of understanding with Qatar's meteorological service.

Background
The Crib Point Satellite Earth Station was opened in 1992 to operate, and receive data from, meteorological satellites. It includes satellite navigation systems (Turn Around Ranging Systems) to help maintain the equatorial orbits for the geostationary meteorological satellites of Japan and China, which provide coverage of the Australian region. The station receives data from polar-orbiting satellites operated by the US and China as well as the geostationary meteorological satellites of Japan, China and the USA .

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

Commonwealth of Australia