Home' Afloat : AFLOAT December 2014 Contents Take monthly with water December 2014 65
*Malcolm Riley is the Public and Marine Officer for the Bureau of
Meteorology in Hobart. He has worked in all States with the exception
of Qld and is a Master V. He gives education courses on Marine
Frequency of images
Every 30 minutes Every 10 minutes
(over Japan every
Infrared (1–2 km)
Number of image bands 5
Weight at Launch
Circa 1970 (I was about 9 years old) I can remember the man from
the TV rental company bringing our household’s first television.
It was a little portable black and white with inbuilt rabbit-ears
antennae. At first only Dad was allowed to change channels, but
that lasted about as long as the channel-change knob, which broke
pretty quickly, so we changed the channel with a pair of pliers.
That little portable is a long way from the sleek black monster
that currently resides in my living room and makes watching the
Wallabies games a delight (apart from the recent Bledisloe Cup).
A similar jump in technology is occurring at the moment about
35,000 kilometres above a point on the equator just north of the
border between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
On October 7th Japan launched its latest weather satellite
Himawari 8. The current satellite (Himawari 7) resides in more or
less the same location as Himawari 8 and it is from this platform
that Australia has been receiving the vast majority of its satellite
weather data since 2006.
Himawari 8 has a range of new or improved features that
Himawari 7 does not have.
This satellite, transmitting higher resolution data more
frequently, along with a greater range of sensor channels will be
a critical tool in helping the Australian Bureau of Meteorology
monitor weather systems over Australia and beyond. While better
imagery will help in all situations, two in particular spring to mind.
The spread of volcanic ash from volcanos erupting in Asia and
South America can disrupt Australian aviation traffic. There was a
major disruption to Australian air traffic from a Chilean volcano
in June 2011. Disruption to flights to and over Indonesia happens
relatively frequently. Perhaps the most notable incident occurred
in 1982 when a British Airways jumbo flew into an undetected
cloud of volcanic ash over Java. The ash stopped all four engines.
Luckily the plane was able to “glide” outside of the ash cloud and
restart the engines.
In command of the plane was Captain Eric Moody who in a
masterstroke of British understatement said, “Ladies and gentlemen,
this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have
stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are
not in too much distress.”
With images being received more frequently and a greater
selection of bandwidth frequencies Bureau meteorologists will
have increased ability to track the spread of the ash clouds. In
addition, the safe areas for aviation will be able to be defined
with greater accuracy.
Tropical Cyclones form in the oceans off northern Australia.
The radar network is only effective for monitoring cyclones that are
Japan’s latest weather satellite a critical
tool in helping the Australian Bureau of
about 100 kilometres or less from the coast. With more frequent
and better resolution satellite imagery, meteorologists will be able
to better track and analyse cyclones when they are many hundreds
of kilometres from the coast. Some information will be received
from Himawari 8 during the latter part of this cyclone season as
the satellite is brought online.
The Bureau of Meteorology and other agencies will see great
benefit just by replacing the current imagery from Himawari 7 with
better imagery. However, Himawari 8 will be producing so much
data that new products will be developed over its decadal life
span that will further increase its value, not just for Australia but
most of the Asia–Pacific region.
Other Weather News
The Bureau of Meteorology now has weather terms in the
coastal waters forecasts that previously supplied only wind and
wave information. The line “Weather” has been added underneath
the sea and swell forecast. For example, the forecast for the
Illawarra recently read “Cloudy. 40% chance of showers inshore, 20%
Finally, the Tropical Cyclone Outlook for this year’s season
has been released, with an average to below average number of
this season. Typically
in an average season
11 cyclones form
in the Australian
region with four
making landfall. Full
details of the outlook
can be found here
http://w w w.bom.gov.
by Malcolm Riley*
Links Archive AFLOAT November 2014 AFLOAT January 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page