Real-time weather data

Pilbara News - - News - Court­ney Fowler

■ 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/.

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