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

29 June 2005

New weather satellite fully operational


Mr Greg Hunt, Parliamentary Secretary with Ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, today announced that public access to the latest satellite images of weather systems across Australia is now available from Japan's newest geostationary meteorological satellite, the MTSAT-1R.

"The MTSAT-1R is now fully operational and transmitting full earth disk images of Australian weather systems every hour to the Crib Point Satellite Earth Station near Hastings in Victoria," Mr Hunt said.

"These images are being received using new technology designed by Bureau satellite experts. This technology is enabling the Bureau to operate automated satellite reception stations that deliver the latest satellite data to help improve weather services to Australians.

"MTSAT-1R provides 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.

"In addition, the Bureau uses the detailed information from the satellite to generate products including multi-channel remapped cloud images, solar radiation estimates, fog/low cloud and volcanic ash cloud detection to enhance its services to the public."

"As part of bilateral cooperation with Japan, hourly images from the satellite are now being processed by the Bureau and transmitted in real time to weather forecasters around Australia, and to overseas space agencies and national weather services, thereby contributing to international cooperative arrangements in meteorology".

"Under the international data exchange Convention of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Australia accesses the satellite data free of charge, while the Bureau makes its observational data available on the same basis to Japan and all other Members of the WMO".

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

MTSAT-1R cloud images are available [from 29 June 2005] on the Bureau's website at: http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/satellite/

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

Commonwealth of Australia