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					             42                  Bureau of Meteorology AnnuAl RepoRt 2010–11

                                 Performance summary 2010–11
                                 Performance is measured against the deliverables and key performance indicators published in the Portfolio
                                 Budget Statements 2010–11 of the former environment, Water, Heritage and the arts portfolio. a summary
                                 is provided below.

                                 Comments on performance measures marked ‘not achieved’ immediately follow this table. More detailed
                                 information against performance measures is available in Chapter 17.

                                  WARNINGS AND WEATHER FORECASTS
                                  Provides the australian community and specific sectors including emergency services, aviation,
                                  the australian defence force, mariners, primary production, industry, trade and commerce with relevant,
                                  accurate and timely weather and ocean forecasts, and critical warning services for severe weather,
                                  tropical cyclones, fire weather, volcanic ash, tsunami and space weather disturbances for the safety
                                  of life and property and the economic benefit of all australians.
                                  FUNCTIONS       DELIVERABLES                                         KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
                                  Forecasting         the 24/7 weather and ocean watch operations        Critical weather events have understandable,
     4                            weather and         of the National and seven regional forecasting     accurate and timely warnings issued to all
                                  warning             Centres, the Space Weather forecast Centre         emergency services and affected sectors of
                                  of weather          and the National tidal Centre providing the        the australian community.
WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS

                                  conditions          full suite of over 300,000 forecast products
                                  likely to           as well as warnings for all critical events
                                  endanger life       such as fire, tropical cyclone, tsunami,
                                  or property         severe thunderstorms and space weather

                                                      full implementation and operation of the           at least 95% of scheduled pre-cyclone
                                                      Next generation forecast and Warning               season workshops are delivered in States
                                                      System (NexgenfWS) in Victoria and New             and territories affected by tropical cyclones.
                                                      South Wales and system configuration in
                                                      two other States ready for testing.

                                                      Significant contribution to an all hazards         there is increasing community access to
                                                      approach to planning, preparation, response,       weather and ocean forecasts and warnings
                                                      and recovery through active membership of          and associated products via the internet, as
                                                      major national, State and territory disaster       determined from internet access statistics.
                                                      management and allied organisations.

                                                      Warning and forecast products provided from        at least 90% of the community surveyed
                                                      automated email/facsimile and telephone            indicate that they are satisfied with the
                                                      systems to meet community requirements.            timeliness of public weather forecasts and

                                                      Provide access to all Bureau weather and           at least 90% of the community surveyed
                                                      ocean forecast and warning products and an         indicate that public weather forecasts and
                                                      extensive suite of other guidance material         warnings are becoming more accurate or are
                                                      and information through the Bureau’s               maintaining an acceptable level of accuracy.
                                                      website, which is fully compliant with
                                                      government technical and disability access

                                                      engagement with emergency services
                                                      and other appropriate organisations
                                                      through education and liaison activities on
                                                      critical weather phenomena, tsunami and
                                                      space weather disturbances to enhance
                                                      the understanding and liaison between
                                                      the Bureau and the emergency services
                                                                              SeCtIoN 2 - pRogRAm peRfoRmAnce               43

FUNCTIONS          DELIVERABLES                                          KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Space weather          delivery of the scheduled suite of 8,000
warnings and           ionospheric prediction charts per day
advice                 required by the aviation industry and the
                       provision of services for the australian
                       defence force.
Advancement           Performance measures for this function               Performance measures for this function
of                    are covered by those listed in the research          are covered by those listed in the research
meteorological        chapter, p. 125                                      chapter, p. 125
science by
means of
Tsunami                                                                    tsunami awareness workshops are delivered
warnings                                                                   to State emergency Services in each State
                                                                           and territory in a rolling biennial schedule.
                                                                           100% of australian tsunami Bulletins
                                                                           issued from the Joint australian tsunami
                                                                           Warning Centre (JatWC) are available to the
                                                                           emergency services and the public within               4
                                                                           40 minutes of a significant event in the

                                                                                                                             WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS
                                                                           Pacific or Indian ocean. (Note 1)
Promoting the          Provision of scheduled and on-demand
understanding          services from 48 Bureau offices located in
and use of             regional and remote areas.
                       delivery of education and awareness
                       programs on severe weather events as
                       well as tsunami events to emergency
                       services, media, general public, remote and
                       indigenous communities.
Providing              delivery of the full suite of aviation forecast     all scheduled consultative meetings with
forecasts              products and critical warning services              the aviation industry are held.
and related            required by the aviation industry and
products to the        mandated through the International Civil
aviation sector        aviation organization.
Providing              delivery of the scheduled suite of tailored         all scheduled consultative meetings with
forecasts and          weather forecast products required by               the australian defence force stakeholders
briefings to           the australian defence force to support             surveyed are held.
the Australian         exercises and operations within australia and
Defence Force          abroad.
Providing             tidal predictions issued annually for key            at least 95% of users surveyed are satisfied
forecasts and         communities, ports and harbours at 70                with the accuracy and quality of tidal
information on        locations around the australian coast.               predictions and other ocean services.
the state of the
                       analyses and forecasts of 7-day oceanographic
                       conditions surrounding australia and its
                       island territories available online.
Legend                 Achieved                                            Not Achieved

Note 1             of 67 earthquake events termed ‘significant’, 97% (65 events) had initial bulletins issued within 40
                   minutes. of the two events outstanding, in one the delay was due to a technical fault in the JatWC
                   software; the other fell below the threshold magnitude for issue of a bulletin but ultimately required
                   issue of a bulletin to allay public concern. See p. 54 for more detail on tsunami warning performance.
             44                  Bureau of Meteorology AnnuAl RepoRt 2010–11

                                 Contribution to outcome
                                 the Warnings and Weather forecasts Program is delivered through eight functions:

                                      •    forecasting weather and warning of weather conditions likely to endanger life or property;
                                      •    tsunami warnings;
                                      •    space weather warnings and advice;
                                      •    promotion and advancement of meteorological science through research;
                                      •    promoting the understanding and use of meteorological information;
                                      •    providing forecasts and related products to the aviation sector;
                                      •    providing forecasts and briefings to the australian defence force; and
                                      •    providing forecasts and information on the state of the oceans.

                                 the program’s most significant contributions to the Bureau’s outcome this year within each of its eight
     4                           functions are outlined below.
WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS

                                 Forecasting weather and warning of weather conditions likely to endanger life
                                 or property
                                 Objective: To enhance the suite of relevant weather information and warnings available to all
                                 Australians through the use of new forecasting systems and taking advantage of data provided to
                                 the Bureau through partnerships with other agencies with monitoring programs.

                                 Weather forecasts and warnings help in the protection of life and property. the Bureau’s weather warning
                                 services are disseminated through multiple channels to maximise public awareness of potentially
                                 dangerous events. the accessibility and utility of weather and warning services available on the internet
                                 is being enhanced through improved navigation, the availability of alternative data formats suitable for
                                 external users and new technologies such as mobile devices. the Bureau is also committed to improving
                                 the effectiveness of warnings for special groups within the australian community, including residents in
                                 remote or culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and the hearing and sight challenged.

                                 through this function, a suite of relevant weather information and warnings is available to all australians
                                 built on advances in forecasting systems and numerical weather prediction models.

                                 general public perceptions of the Bureau’s performance are measured through bi-annual telephone
                                 surveys carried out in the summer and winter seasons.

                                 analysis of survey results for 2010–11 indicated a continued high level of overall satisfaction with Bureau
                                 services. Ninety-seven per cent of respondents in metropolitan areas and 94 per cent in regional areas
                                 were either very or fairly satisfied with the information they receive from the Bureau. In the farming sector,
                                 88 per cent of those surveyed were satisfied with the information they receive from the Bureau through
                                 various sources – this is a significant improvement on the 79 per cent satisfaction recorded in 2008 and
                                 the 83 per cent recorded last year.

                                 More specific measures of forecast accuracy are given in the following pages.
                                                                       SeCtIoN 2 - pRogRAm peRfoRmAnce            45

Significant contributions to outcome
•   five severe weather meteorologists from the united States (uS) visited the Victoria, South australia
    and tasmania/antarctica regional offices during the australian summer fire season, and three Bureau
    meteorologists visited the uS National Weather Service during the uS fire season, in a continuation of
    arrangements established under a Memorandum of agreement (Moa) with the uS National Weather
    Service for sharing of resources and staff development through a forecaster exchange program.
•   at the request of the New South Wales rural fire Service a severe weather forecaster was located at
    the New South Wales State operations Centre throughout the year, with the primary role of providing
    improved liaison and briefing during the fire season. In the event, services were extended to other
    severe weather events such as severe thunderstorms and floods and to provision of training for fire
    management and emergency services staff on the understanding and use of Bureau products. In
    a similar role, a forecaster was again located at the Victorian State Control Centre throughout the
    year. this service allows more detailed, up-to-date weather information and real-time analysis to be
    provided to emergency agencies at the most critical times and improves the usefulness of Bureau
    products to emergency managers.


                                                                                                                   WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS

    Forecaster Steve McGibbony briefs Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the State Control Centre (SCC) from which
    fire and emergency services operate during events. The photo was taken in January when the Prime Minister
    was offered a tour through the SCC during the floods in Victoria.

•   In September the National emergency Management Committee recommended that each government
    jurisdiction which uses the grassland fire danger Index adopt further revisions to the fire danger
    rating Scale, including changes to the threshold values for ‘severe’ and ‘extreme’ fire danger ratings.
    these revisions required significant adjustments to Bureau forecast procedures, systems and
    software which were gradually implemented during the season and involved considerable additional
    effort in interim arrangements, including manual processing and calculations in some cases. the
    relatively benign fire weather season over southeastern australia minimised the immediate impact of
    these changes.
             46                  Bureau of Meteorology AnnuAl RepoRt 2010–11

                                 •   graphical severe thunderstorm warning services were extended to provide coverage for tasmania.
                                     these services operate in tandem with the pre-existing text-based severe thunderstorm warning
                                     service, and are made available to emergency management agencies through the Bureau’s
                                     registered-user service on its website. Verbal feedback at routine liaison meetings indicated the
                                     services were well received.
                                 •   as part of the national rollout of the Next generation forecast and Warning System (NexgenfWS),
                                     funded by the Commonwealth government through the 2009 Budget, an improved rainfall
                                     forecast service, showing both the chance of rainfall occurring and the forecast amount of rain,
                                     was introduced for Sydney, Canberra, and alpine areas of New South Wales (where NexgenfWS
                                     was implemented in 2009–10), and for Hobart and launceston in tasmania when NexgenfWS
                                     was implemented in June. the design of the web pages displaying this information was updated
                                     and modernised in response to user feedback after the New South Wales implementation, based
                                     on good design principles. the service was aimed at satisfying the public demand, shown in the
                                     regular public user surveys, for more clearly presented forecasts and forecast rainfall information
                                     for particular locations.
     4                           •   With the progressive implementation of NexgenfWS, an extended version of the forecast
                                     explorer–a website-based graphics viewer giving easy access to the greatly expanded NexgenfWS
WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS

                                     set of products–was made available to fire agencies in New South Wales and Victoria via the
                                     Bureau’s website, under a Memorandum of understanding with each agency. the fire Weather
                                     forecast explorer displays charts of the forecast values of the elements used in calculation of fire
                                     danger ratings (temperature, humidity and wind), providing fire agencies with greater spatial and
                                     temporal resolution of these parameters for use in their decision-making for fire management.
                                     the charts will become a standard part of the NexgenfWS service as it is rolled out progressively
                                     across the country.
                                 •   as part of an upgrade of the Bureau’s ‘auswave’ weather and wave forecast computer model, a
                                     new web-based service was released which displays interactive forecast maps up to seven days
                                     ahead for australia and surrounding ocean areas. the maps, which allow the user to select the
                                     geographic area of interest and choose from a wide range of forecast quantities (wind, waves,
                                     swell, pressure patterns, humidity etc.) represent a significant advance in both forecast availability
                                     and presentation format over the two-day forecasts in basic map format that were previously
                                     available. Web survey results indicated high satisfaction levels with the service from mariners
                                     who were better able to plan in advance to undertake their journeys in safe conditions.
                                 •   the Bureau’s web pages for marine and ocean services were re-designed following an extensive
                                     review of mariner feedback and requirements in 2009–10 which drew on a range of sources. the
                                     new web service now provides easy access to the most frequently used marine and ocean-related
                                     services from a ‘one-stop shop’ page which allows navigation from tide information to coastal
                                     marine and ocean services and switching between geographic areas in a few mouse clicks.
                                 •   New wind and wave forecast map services aimed at recreational boaters planning their upcoming
                                     activities over the next three days were released for Port Phillip and Western Port Bays near
                                     Melbourne and for coastal areas around Sydney between Newcastle and Wollongong including
                                     Sydney Harbour.
                                 •   a selection of rSS feeds was developed to enable users to receive prompt alerts and access to
                                     new weather warnings through their computers or mobile devices. these feeds assist people who
                                     have a particular need or desire for up-to-the-minute weather warning information.
                                                                      SeCtIoN 2 - pRogRAm peRfoRmAnce           55

Tsunami warnings
Objective: To provide a comprehensive Tsunami Warning System for Australia (in conjunction
with Geoscience Australia) that delivers timely warnings for Australian coastal communities; to
operate a Regional Tsunami Service for the Indian Ocean; and to assist the operation of the Pacific
Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) in Hawaii to provide real-time tsunami advisories for the entire
Pacific Ocean through provision of sea-level observations (Bureau) and earthquake parameters
(Geoscience Australia).

the JatWC, operated 24 hours a day by the Bureau and geoscience australia, provides a comprehensive,
independent tsunami warning service for australia. the australian public, media, emergency services and
other government authorities are alerted to any potential tsunami threat to australia from either the Indian
or Pacific oceans. to avoid false alarms stemming from media reporting of information about tsunamis
impacting other countries in our region, the JatWC also advises if there is no threat to australia following
an earthquake in the region.

the role of geoscience australia (ga) in the warning system is to monitor the occurrence and characteristics
of undersea earthquakes with the potential to generate a tsunami. If such an earthquake is detected, ga
advises the Bureau, which selects the most appropriate set of pre-computed scenarios to ascertain the
likely level, specific location and timing of arrival of a tsunami. this information is broadcast immediately
to emergency services, relevant authorities and the media. If a tsunami is subsequently detected and

                                                                                                                 WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS
confirmed by the strategically located network of deep-ocean buoys and coastal sea-level monitoring
stations, warnings are issued. alternatively, if no tsunami is detected, the potential threat advice is
cancelled to minimise false alarms.

tsunami warnings are issued using the Bureau’s extensive communication infrastructure which serves
all its warning services. advice on actions that the community should take is developed in consultation
with the relevant emergency management authorities. While the risk of major flooding of low-lying coastal
areas from tsunami (termed a ‘land threat’) is relatively low for australia, the likelihood of more frequent
smaller or distant tsunamis creating dangerous currents and surges (a ‘Marine threat’) is higher.

Significant contributions to outcome
•    the JatWC commenced operational trials in March as a regional tsunami Service Provider (rtSP)
     for all countries around the Indian ocean. together with other rtSPs – India and Indonesia - it will
     assist other National tsunami Warning Centres (NtWCs) to make more informed and timely decisions
     on the need to issue tsunami warnings for their respective countries by issuing tsunami threat
     information for the Indian ocean region.
•    during the trials staff from the Bureau and geoscience australia trained NtWC staff from other Indian
     ocean countries in the new service, as well as testing communications between the rtSPs and
     NtWCs. the rtSP system is expected to become operational after a major Indian ocean tsunami
     exercise in october 2011.
•    the Bureau hosted the 8th Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination group for the Indian
     ocean tsunami Warning System (ICg/IotWS) in May. the ICg/IotWS is the primary subsidiary body
     of the uNeSCo Intergovernmental oceanographic Commission (IoC) overseeing development and
     implementation of the IotWS. the Bureau hosts and funds the Secretariat for the ICg/IotWS at
     its Western australia regional office in Perth. the main purpose and outcome of the meeting was
     agreement on the arrangements for the rtSP system outlined above and in the box on p. 58.
•    a Bureau officer was elected as Chair of the ICg/IotWS at the May meeting, recognising australia’s
     leadership role in the development and implementation of the IotWS. It also offers australia a
     significant opportunity to continue to influence and contribute to the development of tsunami
     warning and mitigation services in the Indian ocean region.
                                                                      SeCtIoN 2 - pRogRAm peRfoRmAnce        59

Space weather warnings and advice
Objective: To deliver up-to-date technical services to government agencies, industry and the public
in areas of radio propagation and space weather.

through the Ionospheric Prediction Service (IPS), the Bureau provides services and advice on space
weather conditions for radio communications, satellite navigation and other operations that support
national security, defence, emergency services, public safety and industry. the IPS collects and analyses
data relating to national radio propagation and monitors aspects of the space environment that affect a
wide range of systems and technologies including communications and surveillance systems, power and
long-distance pipeline protection systems, and satellite and spacecraft operations.

Many services are based on current observations of the space environment. Space weather data are
transmitted to the australian Space forecast Centre (aSfC) within an hour of observation and forecasts
and warnings are issued by the centre. IPS products, ranging from basic data to value-added products
tailored for specific purposes, are delivered via the internet to assist users in managing the effects
of space weather on their systems. these include specialised radio frequency services provided to
commercial airlines, airservices australia, the australian Maritime Safety authority, the department of
defence and others.

Significant contributions to outcome

                                                                                                              WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS
•    a successful co-location of two of the Bureau’s major offices - IPS, including the Space Weather
     forecast Centre, and the New South Wales regional office, both situated in Sydney, was completed
     in November. the transfer of all computing and communication facilities was the most critical
     aspect of the move, and required careful planning and extensive liaison between the offices and the
     Bureau’s Melbourne Head office to minimise data outages and the potential for service failures. all
     systems functioned successfully following the move, with no emergency call-outs being required.
     the co-location will bring accommodation and operating efficiencies which are expected to amply
     compensate for the effort and resources involved in achieving a smooth transfer of operations.
•    an updated version of an IPS-developed software package – the advanced Stand alone Prediction
     System (aSaPS-6) - was released in april. the majority of IPS radio propagation services are aimed
     at assisting users engaged in technological communications to make better use of their systems
     by capitalising on knowledge of the current state of the ionosphere, the medium that supports
     high frequency (Hf) radio. While most services are delivered through the internet, aSaPS provides
     customers – mainly radio amateurs and the australian defence force - with a flexible, potentially
     more secure frequency planning environment. among other additions, the package now handles
     predictions for digital Hf which were first provided as an internet service last year, in addition to
     analogue signals.
•    a ‘propagation tool’ was developed to simulate the effect on ‘line of sight’ radio propagation paths
     of intervening terrain height using real terrain maps. radio systems use a spectrum of frequencies,
     including some in the VHf/uHf (30MHz-3gHz) range, which are not reflected off the ionosphere
     like Hf (3-30Mhz) radio waves, but propagate ‘line of sight’ from transmitter to receiver. this
     complements the Hf ionospheric services provided by IPS and the internet version is already
     proving popular.
•    dr richard Marshall, from IPS, was invited to the 16th energy Sector group (eSg) meeting
     in November to give a presentation on the impacts of space weather on critical infrastructure
     such as australian power grids and pipeline networks. the eSg is part of the attorney-general’s
     department’s trusted Information Sharing Network and its purpose is to provide a forum for
     government and industry to share and disseminate information on business resilience and
     critical infrastructure resilience issues that affect the energy sector. the forum takes an all-
     hazards viewpoint and allows development of a national perspective of the vulnerabilities and
     interdependencies of the electricity, gas and liquid fuels supply chains. extreme space weather
             60                  Bureau of Meteorology AnnuAl RepoRt 2010–11

                                     events are now recognised widely as a potential threat to technological systems, especially power
                                     distribution. a major space weather storm can induce strong currents to flow in power lines, burning
                                     out high-voltage transformers on long distance lines, potentially leading to widespread power failures
                                     and expensive damage to the infrastructure. Presentations such as this can assist risk management
                                     and business continuity planning by making affected groups aware of available services.
                                 •   a new extended version of the arBIS 3, developed by IPS in cooperation with the School of
                                     Physics, university of Sydney, became operational in the Space Weather forecast Centre. When
                                     matter is ejected from the sun (called a coronal mass ejection) radio emissions observed on earth
                                     provide an estimate of the speed of the disturbances and IPS monitors these with the learmonth
                                     and Culgoora solar observatory radio spectrographs. the service provided includes estimates of
                                     disturbance speeds and the arrival time at earth. the software generates real-time email alerts
                                     based on the solar radio emissions and assists IPS forecasters by combining multiple datasets
                                     (spectrographs, solar X-ray fluxes) in a convenient way, leading to more timely issue of information
                                     as a solar disturbance develops and allowing earlier mitigating action by affected groups.
                                 •   an initial version of a regional ionospheric model, derived by IPS from real-time global position
                                     system (gPS) and ionosonde data, was made operational. this provided a means of correcting gPS
                                     signals for ionospheric delay and enabled improved positioning and navigation accuracy for gPS
                                     users. Changes in the ionosphere can be monitored by observing the constellation of satellites used
                                     for gPS, and can be modelled when sufficient observing points are available. the IPS webpages
WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS

                                     were expanded to include real-time maps of ionospheric impact on single frequency gPS positioning
                                     accuracy (Figure 4.11), as well as an index representing the level of ionospheric disturbance, replacing
                                     the climatological information which was all that was previously available. the service is currently
                                     in the exploratory phase during which likely user groups are being identified; an upgrade of the
                                     software is expected to follow.

                                                  110E    120E        130E          140E       150E       160E        170E            180
                                                10S                                                                                     10S

                                                20S                                                                                    20S

                                                30S                                                                                    30S


                                                40S                                                                                    40S

                                                50S                                                                                     50S
                                                  110E    120E        130E          140E       150E       160E        170E            180
                                                              L1 GPS POSITION ERROR (iono only) AT 04 UT, 28 JUNE 2011

                                                      0   1           2         3          4          5      6           7        8

                                     Figure 4.11: A map showing the estimated GPS positioning error, in metres, for a single-frequency GPS
                                     receiver. This information is provided in near real time on the IPS website. At mid-latitudes errors are
                                     typically between one and five metres. Both enhancements and depressions of the ionosphere can result
                                     in increased GPS positioning errors.
                                                                      SeCtIoN 2 - pRogRAm peRfoRmAnce          61

•    the monitoring and modelling of ionospheric ‘scintillation’ (the term given to irregularities in the
     ionosphere caused by so-called ‘space weather‘ such as the solar wind and magnetic storms) has
     been improved, with additional real-time observations from Willis and Macquarie Islands, reflecting
     a growing capability to provide trans-ionospheric services to the australian community. a real-time
     ionospheric scintillation monitor was installed at Macquarie Island In March. radio signals passing
     through the ionosphere can be degraded by irregularities in the ionosphere that cause scintillation
     of the signals; the effects are especially important at low and high latitudes. a high-rate ionospheric
     scintillation data feed from Weipa was also established at the request of the uS air force, in support
     of the joint australian-uS talisman Sabre 2011 defence exercise.
•    training courses were again provided to IPS clients so they could make optimum use of the services
     offered to manage their systems. the courses are offered at capital cities on a two-year rotation
     basis – this year, in Canberra, Sydney and Perth.
•    a new part of the IPS training program was implemented during 2010–11, with introductory lectures
     on space weather and IPS services provided to Bureau staff in regional offices. this is part of
     an outreach program to increase the visibility of the Bureau’s space weather capabilities and to
     capitalise on the wide-ranging contacts the Bureau has throughout australia; regional staff have
     extensive contact with user groups who may benefit from increased awareness of the services
     available from the IPS. to date, two presentations have been made in Sydney and Melbourne, with a
     Perth presentation also planned, but delayed to 2011–12 owing to travel difficulties associated with

                                                                                                                WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS
     the volcanic ash events (p. 66).

Promotion and advancement of meteorological science through research
Objective: To promote and advance meteorological science by means of research.

the primary work of this function is carried out within the Centre for australian Weather and Climate
research (CaWCr), which is a research partnership of the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIro.
CaWCr has around three hundred staff, with the majority in Melbourne, and operates through integrated
research capability teams in a number of locations. Strategic and applied research developments,
particularly in computer modelling, support the delivery of improved forecast guidance and tools, leading
to better forecasts and warnings.

Significant contributions to outcome
•    the high-resolution ‘city’ component of the Bureau’s new computer simulation model suite, called
     aCCeSS (australian Community Climate and earth System Simulator – p. 49) achieved operational
     status in august, completing the deployment of its atmospheric simulation components. Work
     on research trials for the next upgrade of the suite also progressed, with the first of the upgraded
     models–the global-scale model–ready for hand-over for operational implementation by the end
     of 2011. In the upgraded model system resolutions have been increased, in both the vertical and
     horizontal, the model itself has been upgraded, and additional atmospheric temperature data
     from new sources are being used in the generation of the initial state of the atmosphere which is
     the starting point for the simulation. the upgrade achieved a significant improvement in forecast
     performance, adding an extra 12 hours of predictability (over australia), compared with the previous
     version of aCCeSS, as well as improved prediction of severe weather events.
•    the Bureau’s Next generation forecast and Warning System (NexgenfWS) which is being rolled
     out progressively across australia, was improved to provide more descriptive and natural sounding
     text forecasts and to provide forecasters with a greater range of ‘smart tools’ for editing gridded
     forecasts. Specific enhancements included:
     -    the development and implementation of an improved process for generating and clearly
          presenting probability-based forecasts of rain amount from model output, increasing the
          usefulness of the Bureau’s rainfall forecasts;
             62                  Bureau of Meteorology AnnuAl RepoRt 2010–11

                                     -    tracking and collection of edits made by human forecasters to the automated worded
                                          forecasts generated by NexgenfWS allowed researchers to examine the forecast process
                                          in detail and quantify the efficiencies gained via NexgenfWS; and
                                     -    fire weather forecasting processes were redeveloped to accommodate the implementation
                                          of recommendations arising from the 2009 Victorian Bushfires royal Commission,
                                          responding to a range of changes requested by fire management agencies in the various
                                          State and territory jurisdictions.
                                 •   as part of the Strategic radar enhancement Project (SreP) funded by the government in the
                                     2009 Budget:
                                     -    the ‘rainfields’ quantitative precipitation estimation system, which combines radar and rain
                                          gauge data to provide improved analyses of rainfall over an area, became operational and
                                          commenced providing rainfall analyses to the public through the Bureau’s website as well as
                                          being available to forecasters as part of their radar display; and
                                     -    the Short-term ensemble Prediction System (StePS) commenced running in trial mode
                                          providing highly detailed rainfall ‘nowcasts’ (very short-term forecasts) out to 90 minutes for
                                          three areas around capital cities (Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane) by combining input from
     4                                    radars and numerical prediction models. training of forecasters in the use of the system will
                                          begin in late 2011.
WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS

                                     evaluation of both products for recent flooding events in southeastern australia show that
                                     rainfields and StePS provide skilful estimates of heavy rain that can enhance the timeliness and
                                     accuracy of the Bureau’s warnings of rain events and possible flooding.
                                 •   Wave forecasts improved in accuracy after the operational Consensus forecasting (oCf) scheme
                                     was implemented operationally in april. the oCf wave system uses statistical relationships
                                     between output values for specific locations from five different numerical wave models to
                                     generate optimal forecasts of significant wave height, peak wave period, wind direction and wind
                                     speed up to five days ahead for eighteen sites around the australian coast. a similar system is
                                     already operating routinely for temperature and rainfall forecasts over land areas. the oCf output
                                     is routinely incorporated into the NexgenfWS system so that the forecasts produced can be
                                     based on the best available predictive information.

                                 Promoting the understanding and use of meteorological information
                                 Objective: To promote the understanding and use of meteorological information.

                                 the Bureau has a statutory responsibility to help the community understand its products and services
                                 and the sciences on which they are based. It does this through a broad mix of public outreach and
                                 communication activities through media, publishing and events. Staff regularly address conferences,
                                 participate in trade shows, and answer enquiries from the public. Media activities include proactive
                                 engagement—such as hosting visits to Bureau sites or fostering ‘feature stories’ on specific
                                 developments—as well as responding to media enquiries, most notably during significant events
                                 such as tsunamis, storms, heatwaves, floods and cyclones. audiences include representatives of
                                 the agricultural, marine and aviation industry sectors and community and business leaders, as well
                                 as those members of the public with a general interest in climate, weather and water.

                                 Significant contributions to outcome
                                 •   Bureau staff attended a number of major agricultural and marine ‘field days’ and other public
                                     events in each State and territory to promote the community’s awareness and understanding
                                     of the Bureau’s weather and warnings services. these events included the elmore field day
                                     (Victoria), the agquip field day at gunnedah in New South Wales, and the dowerin gWN
                                     Machinery field day in Western australia.
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•    an extensive series of marine seminars was conducted in New South Wales to highlight upcoming
     changes to marine services, as part of the NexgenfWS implementation. these seminars focused on
     helping mariners understand and use weather information.
•    radar seminars for local communities, on the topic of how to interpret and use the data from weather
     radars available on the Bureau website, were conducted in New South Wales, in conjunction with the
     commissioning of the Wollongong and Namoi radars.
•    a public education tour program on tropical cyclones and associated Bureau services was carried
     out in tropical cyclone-prone areas of the country ahead of the start of the tropical cyclone season
     and included visits to the island communities of Cocos, Christmas and thursday Islands. Workshops
     were also delivered in partnership with emergency services and local authorities in major population
     coastal centres along the northwestern and northeastern seaboards and darwin, and many remote
     indigenous communities, including Bidyadanga in Western australia and Kowanyama in Queensland.
     In the Northern territory, the program was limited this year to darwin, as the Northern territory
     emergency Services were unable to attend events at more remote and island communities.
•    an updated version of the Storm Spotters' Handbook was published, replacing the version published
     in 1995. the handbook provides guidance to volunteer ‘spotters’ who provide real-time information
     about thunderstorms occurring in their area. Since thunderstorms are relatively short-lived and small            4
     in scale (a few kilometres across, and lasting only minutes to a few hours), they are notoriously
     difficult to observe when actually happening, especially in sparsely populated areas. Spotters

                                                                                                                 WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS
     therefore provide a valuable service to the Bureau and the community in advising and confirming the
     occurrence of severe thunderstorms and thereby supporting severe thunderstorm warning services.
     the revised handbook has new photographs, diagrams, an improved layout aimed at more effective
     public education, and a more national perspective, compared with the focus of the previous handbook
     on southeastern australia.

Providing forecasts and related products to the aviation sector
Objective: To increase the benefit of meteorological services to the aviation industry through
improved communication with industry and a focus on quality assurance. Particular emphasis to
be placed on improved services to air traffic management, regional aviation and major airports.

the aviation weather service facilitates safe and economical civil aviation operations through the
provision of accurate, timely and relevant forecasts, warnings and other information, while also meeting
australia’s obligations under international agreements for the provision of meteorological services to
international aviation.

the Bureau’s role in providing services for civil aviation is established by the Meteorology Act 1955. In
addition, under the Convention for International Civil aviation (the Chicago Convention) the director of
Meteorology is the designated Meteorological authority for australia and is responsible for ensuring
meteorological services are provided to civil aviation in australia in accordance with the standards and
practices set out in annex 3 to the Convention. In fulfilling this mandate, the Bureau works closely with
airservices australia, which is responsible for air traffic services, and the Civil aviation Safety authority
(CaSa), which is responsible for the safety regulation of civil aviation in australia.

during 2010–11, aviation services management and policy were delivered from the Weather and ocean
Services Branch in Melbourne, while services to the aviation sector were generated and delivered through
the following major service outlets:

•    the aviation Weather Centre in the National Meteorological and oceanographic Centre (NMoC);
•    the regional forecasting Centre in each capital city and darwin;
•    the National operations Centre Meteorological unit (NoCMet) and the Sydney airport Meteorological
     unit (SaMu), which are co-located with airservices australia in Canberra and Sydney respectively;
•    the Meteorological offices in Cairns, townsville and Canberra;
             64                  Bureau of Meteorology AnnuAl RepoRt 2010–11

                                 •    the Volcanic ash advisory Centre in darwin; and
                                 •    the aviation Meteorological units in Sydney and Brisbane.

                                 the Bureau has a well-established consultative process with the main industry operators, including the
                                 major domestic airlines, as well as international and regional airlines, to determine industry needs. the cost
                                 of the service is recovered from the aviation industry, except the aviation Meteorological units in Sydney
                                 and Brisbane which are run on a commercial basis.

                                 Significant contributions to outcome
                                 •    a new commercial software package called Visual Weather was installed in the NMoC in Melbourne,
                                      allowing forecasters producing aviation forecast charts to overlay a wide range of data sets, such as
                                      satellite and radar imagery, output of meteorological models and weather observations. the package
                                      replaces the numerous pre-existing systems, which existed to display the various data types, with
                                      a single manufacturer-supported alternative. Visual Weather will also enable the generation of select
                                      graphical products in geo-referenced formats and allow the style of aviation charts to be standardised
                                      relative to similar products from international centres in the united States and united Kingdom. this
                                      integrated data visualisation and graphical product generation system will reduce the potential for
     4                                transcription errors and inaccuracies resulting from translation from one display system to another,
                                      leading to more accurate forecast charts (p. 148).
WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS

                                 •    a new aviation Weather Services website was launched with a new format designed to improve
                                      navigation and usability. the site also provides access to new products such as aerodrome
                                      climatologies and products produced through Visual Weather (see previous point).
                                 •    Climatological tables showing the average conditions for each aerodrome for which the Bureau
                                      produces an aerodrome forecast have been produced and made available on the Bureau’s aviation
                                      Weather Services website. the tables show climatological conditions for each hour and half-hour, for
                                      all elements normally included in the aerodrome forecast, such as wind, visibility, fog occurrence, and
                                      probability of thunderstorms.
                                 •    upgrades to the Bureau’s observational network that directly benefited aviation during 2010–11
                                      included the installation of automatic weather stations at Jackson (Queensland) and Caiguna
                                      (Western australia); cloud ceiling and visibility sensors at lismore (New South Wales) and Bundaberg
                                      (Queensland); and automatic Weather Information Systems (aWIS) at Mcarthur river Mine (Northern
                                      territory) and Canberra. the aWIS use text-to-speech technology to create radio broadcasts of
                                      observed weather conditions. these improvements to the observational network provide pilots with
                                      more accurate observations of the current weather to assist them in making safer decisions when
                                      flying into these locations.
                                 •    the NoCMet was certified compliant with the australia/New Zealand standard aS/NZS ISo
                                      9001:2008 in december. NoCMet is a briefing unit embedded within the airservices australia
                                      National operations Centre in Canberra. this is the next step in the move to implement a Quality
                                      Management System across all components of the Bureau’s aviation weather services in line with
                                      future International Civil aviation organization requirements.
                                 •    a trial of a tabular airport Weather Briefing product, replacing the previous text-based briefing,
                                      commenced in december at the SaMu. this more user-friendly format also presents additional
                                      forecast information to that provided by the standard aerodrome forecast to airlines. It also improves
                                      the Bureau’s capability to clearly present an overall consistent picture of the current and forecast
                                      weather conditions, and helps both end users’ decision-making processes and the assessment of
                                      forecast accuracy and service performance.
                                 •    a significant upgrade to the volcanic ash monitoring and detection capability of the darwin Volcanic
                                      ash advisory Centre (VaaC) occurred during November with the introduction of satellite data received
                                      through the new darwin X-Band Satellite ground Station. this provided the VaaC with near real-time
                                      access to higher resolution satellite images than had previously been available, enabling development
                                      to proceed on a range of sophisticated detection techniques for volcanic ash and sulphur dioxide.
                                                                          SeCtIoN 2 - pRogRAm peRfoRmAnce             65

Providing forecasts and briefings to the Australian Defence Force
Objective: To structure and deliver Defence Meteorological Services to provide focused and
responsive support to the Australian Defence Force.

defence Meteorological Services enhance the operations of the australian defence force (adf) through
the provision of accurate, timely and relevant meteorological information and products. Services include
the provision of forecasts, real-time meteorological observations and climatological data, meteorological
training and professional advice to assist military decision-making processes.

Services are delivered through the following centres:

•    the defence Meteorological Support unit (dMSu), a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week office located within the
     australian Headquarters Joint operations Centre at Bungendore (New South Wales);
•    defence Weather Service offices (WSos) located at royal australian air force (raaf) bases at
     amberley (Queensland), east Sale (Victoria), Pearce (Western australia), tindal (Northern territory) and
     Williamtown (New South Wales);
•    the defence WSo located at the army aviation Centre at oakey (Queensland); and
•    defence-attributed staff at the townsville Meteorological office.                                                      4

                                                                                                                       WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS

     The use of tactical meteorological instrumentation (shown in the background), complemented forecasting
     services in support of the joint Australian-US military exercise Talisman Sabre at Shoalwater Bay, Queensland.
     (Credit: Australian Defence Department)
                                                                          SeCtIoN 2 - pRogRAm peRfoRmAnce         67

Significant contributions to outcome
•    the integrated data visualisation and graphical product generation Visual Weather software reported
     on p. 148 for aviation weather services was also installed in the dMSu at Bungendore near Canberra,
     this time customised for defence products and services. the new system will progressively
     streamline, standardise and improve the quality of briefing material provided to the adf in support
     of their operations. additionally, it brings australian services into line with those available to
     international defence users including uK defence and the uSaf Weather agency.
•    output from the Bureau’s computer-based atmospheric prediction model aCCeSS was included in
     the Ballistic atmosphere system (BatMoS) used by the australian army enabling the use of the
     most up-to-date high-resolution atmospheric information in its ballistic testing processes, where
     factors such as wind can be critically important.
•    a joint-service (Navy, army and airforce) defence Weather Services Consultancy group (dWSCg)
     was established as part of a strategy to improve services to the australian defence force. the
     dWSCg proved to be an efficient and cost-effective means of communication and liaison on Bureau
     services for all parties.
•    the quality and accuracy of forecast briefing information provided to defence personnel at the
     australian Headquarters Joint operations Centre was improved through the establishment of                          4
     collaborative operational working arrangements between Bureau dMSu forecasters and the Navy
     MetoC (the Navy’s own meteorological and oceanographic forecasters) resulting in improved and

                                                                                                                   WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS
     more consistent services to defence users.
•    the dMSu provided forecast support for eight defence exercises, in which skills and equipment
     are tested in ‘practice’ situations, and three defence operations, where activities are carried out in
     support of government initiatives. these included joint defence/australian government operations
     in the wake of devastating natural disasters both at home and overseas, including operation
     Queensland flood assist, operation Pacific assist (for the tohoku, Japan earthquake and tsunami)
     and operation Pakistan assist (for the Pakistan floods). feedback from operational squadrons
     highlighted the importance of defence Weather Services in the successful conduct of these military
     operations and exercises.

Providing forecasts and information on the state of the oceans
Objectives: To provide enhanced capabilities in monitoring and predicting the state of the oceans
in the Australian region to meet the identified needs of stakeholders and users to enable the safe,
secure and effective use of the coastal and open ocean marine environment, and to contribute to
the understanding of the impacts of the longer-term behaviour of the oceans on Australia’s climate.

the provision of ocean Services is carried out through the development and implementation of state-
of-the-art ocean monitoring, analysis and forecast systems, providing information on tides, sea levels,
and ocean currents, temperature and salinity. this information is tailored to meet the needs of maritime
industries, emergency services, defence, recreational users, researchers and policy and planning
authorities across all levels of government. It is also critical for the evaluation of the contribution to, and
detection of, climate variability and change processes and potential impacts on australia and its people.

the Bureau’s ocean Services activities are focused on:

•    services based on ocean measurements obtained via in situ observation networks and from
     satellite-based observing systems;
•    predictions of ocean variables using state-of-the-art numerical prediction models for the coupled
     earth atmosphere-ocean system, out to seven days;
•    further development of the Bureau’s national ocean prediction system (oceanMaPS), which is
     underpinned by the Bureau/CSIro/royal australian Navy (raN) Bluelink ocean modelling system;
             68                  Bureau of Meteorology AnnuAl RepoRt 2010–11

                                 •   provision of annual tidal predictions at a large number of australian ports and other coastal locations;
                                 •   monitoring of sea-level information at 12 key locations around australia and its offshore territories to
                                     detect any influence of climate change; and
                                 •   coordination of Bureau contributions to the Integrated Marine observing System (IMoS) in australia,
                                     which is developing and implementing enhanced multidisciplinary observing systems for research that
                                     may also benefit the Bureau’s ocean Services.

                                 Significant contributions to outcome
                                 •   the Bureau’s ocean prediction system (oceanMaPSv1) was enhanced when the Bureau’s new global
                                     atmospheric model (aCCeSS-g) was implemented in late 2010. the new atmospheric model provides
                                     improved surface wind forcing of the ocean prediction model. this will lead to enhanced forecasts and
                                     information on the state of the ocean for users, such as the raN (input to tactical response systems
                                     and maritime operations) and the australian Maritime Safety authority (drift modelling and air-sea
                                     rescue applications, oil spill trajectory modelling).
                                 •   the web pages displaying the Bureau’s ocean services products were redesigned to provide a more
                                     convenient one-stop shop for all users of ocean and marine services. ocean temperature, salinity,
     4                               current and tide information (in the past provided under ‘ocean services’) is now combined with
                                     marine weather information such as sea state and surface winds (in the past provided as ‘marine’
                                     services). the upgrade provides more user-friendly site navigation and access to services.
WarNINgS aNd WeatHer foreCaStS

                                 •   the National tidal Centre (NtC) continued its involvement in a project to monitor tide height and sea-
                                     level changes inside Port Phillip Bay following the completion of dredging in the Port Phillip Channel
                                     deepening Project. the work, which will span a period of about two years, is covered by a contract
                                     to the office of the environmental Monitor (oeM) in Victoria. a series of reports will be produced as
                                     part of the monitoring project which will be published on the oeM’s website. the first such report,
                                     covering the first year after the completion of dredging, attracted significant public interest.

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