Real-time weather data
■ Residents in the Pilbara will benefit this cyclone season from new real-time satellite imagery made available to the public this month by the Bureau of Meteorology.
The imagery is captured 26000km above earth’s surface by the Japanese Himawari-8 satellite, which is the most advanced dedicated weather satellite in the world.
Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Neil Bennett said the benefits of this new satellite technology would be huge for people living in the Pilbara during the wet season.
“Previously the satellite imagery we captured was only received every hour and the image was fixed,” he said.
“Now we are able to provide users with higher-resolution imagery every 10 minutes and are able to zoom in quite close and get some good details of things like tropical cyclones and thunderstorms, which are part and parcel of Pilbara weather in the wet season.
“People in more remote areas will now be able to see weather systems develop and evolve in colour during daylight hours and the view has been designed with mobile devices in mind.
“To have these remarkable real-time satellite images in your pocket, it’s just mind blowing.”
Bureau of Meteorology director Dr Rob Vertessy said combined with the upcoming upgrade to the bureau’s supercomputer, the Himawari-8 imagery was a game changer for meteorologists.
“Himawari-8 generates about 50 times more data than the previous satellite and forecasters now have access to 16 observation wavebands that capture important detail from many layers of the atmosphere,” he said.
“Weather computer models ingest data and extrapolate to provide a forecast — the better the data we put in, the more accurate the forecast that comes out.
“Now everyone can benefit, both by seeing the weather as it unfolds in fantastic detail and through the improved weather services it will enable.”
Dr Vertessy expressed gratitude to the Japan Meteorological Agency for making the data from Himawari-8 freely available to Australia.
The public can view Himawari-8’s images via the Bureau of Meteorology website at www.bom.gov.au/.