Weather intricacies revealed
About 20 people had the chance to find out how the weather is measured and recorded at the Geraldton Meteorological Office recently, getting up close and personal with the equipment.
The Secret Spaces tour was part of last week’s Goodness Festival, a week-long celebration of science, sustainability and innovation.
Bureau of Meteorology duty weather observer Patrick Ramsdale ran through how everything worked, from the high-tech automatic rain gauge used for flood warnings to the low-tech evaporation pan where water is added or removed by hand each morning.
The office regularly allows visitors to have a sticky-beak at the equipment and Mr Ramsdale said the team was happy to explain how everything worked.
“When you look on your phone or the web, that’s the end project,” he said. “You see stats quoted but don’t know the context. With this you can get an idea of the measurements and see where it comes from.
“Actually being able to hold or touch something that’s operating, you can get the picture of some limitations.” During the tour, Mr Ramsdale released a weather balloon, used to measure aboveground wind speed, air temperature and humidity.
The office launches two weather balloons five days a week.
With a strong gust pounding the office in Moonyoonooka, the weather balloon was barely visible within a few minutes.
At the Goodness Festival, people were taken behind the closed doors of Geraldton Radiology, the port and the river gauging station.
With this you can get an idea of the measurements and see where it comes from. Patrick Ramsdale
Patrick Ramsdalepoints to the low-tech evaporation pan. Every morning, water is added or removed manually, depending on the amount of evaporation and rainfall.
Patrick Ramsdale uses an optical tracker to find the weather balloon. This allows the radar to lock onto the balloon, feeding data back to the office.
A participant of the Secret Spaces tour looks at how much rainfall was collected in the gauge.