Australian Bureau of Meteorology to upgrade Northern Territory weather radar

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The Australian Bureau of Meteorology will install a new digital receiver and control system for the Warruwi radar in the Northern Territory of Australia. To make these changes, the radar will be offline for up to eight weeks.

The weather radar is intended to assist people and industry on and around South Goulburn Island to track rain, wind, storms and severe weather. This is part of the upgrade program for Australia’s radar and observation network in a generation. By June 2024, the Bureau is delivering eight new radars, plus upgrades to 46 radars, almost 700 automatic weather stations and 200 flood warning network sites across the country.

There will be no impact to the Bureau’s forecasts and warnings, which are informed by observations from a range of assets including satellites, upper atmosphere monitoring and automatic weather stations. The Warruwi radar is one part of a weather observation network of more than 11,000 assets including satellites, upper atmosphere monitoring, automatic weather stations, ocean buoys and flood warning networks.

The Bureau’s MetEye service also provides publicly accessible images showing wind and rain information. The community can also access satellite images from the Himawari-8 satellite. These images are also available from the Bureau’s website and show cloud cover and lightning strikes. The Darwin (Berrimah) and Katherine radars provide some overlapping coverage for the region, and images from these radars can be viewed on the Bureau’s website and the BOM Weather app.

Todd Smith, acting decision support services general manager, said, “Forecasts and warnings for all regions are based on a combination of many of these different observing systems. More than 90% of data that feed into the Bureau’s weather models come from satellites. The network provides a comprehensive data set that enables communities to effectively respond to weather events.”

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