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Joint Media Release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
The Hon John Cobb MP
Minister for Community Services Federal Member for Parkes

22 August 2006

Bureau launches new internet rainfall forecast maps

The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology and the Hon. John Cobb MP, Federal Member for Parkes today announced the launch of rainfall forecast maps on the Bureau's website. The new service graphically shows predicted rainfall totals for across Australia each day out to five.

Mr Hunt said the electronic maps were part of the Bureau's new 'Water and the Land' section of the bureau website and also included the aggregate rainfall forecast for days one to four of the forecast period, and for days five to eight. A third type of map on the site shows the probability of daily rainfall reaching certain threshold totals.

"The new 'Water and the Land' section of the website is a one-stop-shop for anyone who needs to be continually updated with weather information, be it people in the marine or agricultural industry or communities that are prone to severe weather events."

"When people log onto the Water and the Land section they will also be able to view climate information such as long-term rainfall trends, seasonal predictions, and El Nino/La Nina outlooks."

Mr Cobb said the new technology would greatly benefit rural and regional communities.

"Local farmers will be able to survey the rainfall patterns and predictions at the click of a mouse."

"They will be able to access the latest weather information at their convenience and this technology, in addition to the existing Bureau information on radio, in print and on television, will allow farmers and other people involved in the agricultural industry to plan their work more efficiently."

Mr Hunt said the new rainfall forecast maps were produced by comparing the results of a number of different computer models of the atmosphere - by so-called ensemble forecasting.

"The technique has been developed by the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre over a number of years and has proved more accurate than relying on individual weather models and is part of ongoing upgrades to improve access to bureau information."

The new site can be accessed via the 'Water and the Land' link on the bureau home page:

Media contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Office of Mr Hunt) 0415 740 722
Anne Worthington (Office of John Cobb Dubbo Electorate Office) 02 6882 0999

Commonwealth of Australia