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

23 March 2005

Getting the weather news out - colourfully

The Bureau of Meteorology will mark World Meteorological Day (23 March) with an award recognising the role of its Media Graphics Unit in the colourful redesign of scores of Australian newspaper weather pages.

Mr Greg Hunt, Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, says the old black-and-white weather map which first appeared in an Australian paper in 1877 has almost disappeared under the avalanche of new printing technology, with its wide use of colour.

"In terms of getting the weather news out fast to the widest possible audience, the Bureau is well known for adopting the latest technologies, notably its website with the hugely popular weather radar images," Mr Hunt said.

"Not as many people are aware that the Bureau provides 'ready to print' weather maps or weather pages designed in conjunction with more than 80 Australian newspapers. The Media Graphics Unit working from the Victorian Regional Office will receive the Bureau's Group Excellence Award for its collaborative design and distribution of many variants of graphical weather information."

Since its creation in 1995 the Unit has liaised with many of Australia's best known papers, metropolitan and rural, to provide daily weather maps and supporting data to meet individual papers' requirements. Today the unit serves 50 daily papers and an average of four weekly papers each day, plus many others of varying frequency. It includes full colour, spot colour and black-and-white variants.

An international authority on climate change, Dr Neville Nicholls of the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, will receive the individual Excellence Award. He is particularly recognised among global meteorological researchers for studies from the late 1970s - sometimes against prevailing beliefs - which confirmed the vital role of El Nino in Australia's climate, and were central to the creation of seasonal outlooks.

Background: World Meteorological Day marks the coming into force of the Convention of the World Meteorological Organization on 23 March 1950. This United Nations agency promotes the free and unrestricted exchange of weather related information to advance socio-economic development and to protect the environment.

Dr Wendy Craik, Chief Executive Officer of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, will deliver the 2005 World Meteorological Day Address on Weather, Climate, Water and Sustainable Development today (March 23) at the Bureau of Meteorology head office, 700 Collins St., Melbourne. Media are invited. The ceremonies start at 10.45am.

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

Commonwealth of Australia