Work is underway on a major upgrade to Australia’s space weather observation network with works completed at the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BoM) Townsville ionosonde site.
The work at the Townsville site is the first of 10 upgrades to be delivered on BoM’s ionosonde network across Australia.
An ionosonde is a high-frequency radar that sends short pulses of radio energy into the ionosphere. The information collected is used to identify key variations in the ionosphere and understand the potential impacts to high-frequency radio communication services or operations.
The upgrades to Australia’s ionosonde network will provide more resilient, secure and reliable observations for space weather.
Space weather forecasts and observations conducted by the Bureau are crucial to the operations of Australia’s space, aviation, energy, defense and telecommunications industries. BoM’s information assists these industries in assessing their exposure to risks to their operations from potential space weather conditions.
Additionally, Australia’s location in the Southern Hemisphere, combined with clear skies, low noise and low light interference means it is uniquely placed to contribute to the international space community.
Upgrades to the remaining ionosondes will be rolled out over the next two years. BoM has ionosondes in Townsville, Bribie Island, Canberra, Cocos Islands, Hobart, Norfolk Island, Perth, Niue, Casey (Antarctica), Mawson (Antarctica).