Bureau of Meteorology

Last updated

Bureau of Meteorology
Aus-gov-bom-brand.png
Agency overview
Formed1 January 1908;113 years ago (1908-01-01)
Jurisdiction Government of Australia
Headquarters Melbourne
Employees1,663 (at 31 May 2015)
Annual budget A$279.3 million (2015–16)
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Dr Andrew Johnson, Director of Meteorology
Parent agency Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Website www.bom.gov.au

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM or BoM) is an executive agency of the Australian Government responsible for providing weather services to Australia and surrounding areas. It was established in 1906 under the Meteorology Act, and brought together the state meteorological services that existed before then. [1] The states officially transferred their weather recording responsibilities to the Bureau of Meteorology on 1 January 1908. [2] [3]

Contents

History

The Bureau of Meteorology was established on 1 January 1908 following the passage of the Meteorology Act 1906. [4] Prior to Federation in 1901, each colony had had its own meteorological service, with all but two colonies also having a subsection devoted to astronomy. In August 1905, federal home affairs minister Littleton Groom surveyed state governments for their willingness to cede control, finding South Australia and Victoria unwilling. However, at a ministerial conference in April 1906 the state governments agreed to transfer responsibility for meteorology and astronomy to the federal government. Groom rejected a takeover of astronomy due to its connection to universities, which relied on state legislation for their authority. [5]

Henry Ambrose Hunt was appointed as the first Commonwealth Meteorologist in November 1906. Initially the bureau had few staff and issued a single daily forecast for each state, transmitted by Morse code to country areas. Radio forecasts were introduced in 1924. The bureau received additional funding from the late 1930s, in the lead-up to World War II, and it was incorporated into the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from 1941 until after the conclusion of the war. It became an inaugural member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1950. Televised weather forecasts were introduced in 1956. [6]

The 1906 act governing the bureau was repealed and replaced by the Meteorology Act 1955, which brought its functions in line with the expectations of the WMO and allowed for a significant reorganisation of its structure. At this time the bureau came under the Department of the Interior. In 1957, partly as a response to the 1955 Hunter Valley floods, the bureau added a hydrometeorological service. [7] In 1964, the federal government agreed to establish one of the three World Meteorological Centres in Melbourne, as part of the WMO's World Weather Watch scheme. [8]

Services and structure

Berrimah radar Berrimah-radar-darwin-nt.jpg
Berrimah radar

The Bureau of Meteorology is the main provider of weather forecasts, warnings and observations to the Australian public. The bureau distributes weather images via radiofax and is responsible for issuing flood alerts in Australia.

The bureau's head office is in Melbourne Docklands, which includes the bureau's Research Centre, the Bureau National Operations Centre, the National Climate Centre, the Victorian Regional Forecasting Centre as well as the Hydrology and Satellite sections. [9]

Regional offices are located in each state and territory capital. Each regional office includes a regional forecasting centre and a flood warning centre. The Adelaide office incorporates the National Tidal Centre, while the Darwin office the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (Analysis). The Perth, Darwin and Brisbane offices also housed Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres which were ultimately unified into one since the 2020–21 cyclone season.

Darwin Airport office Darwin Airport Met Office.jpg
Darwin Airport office

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issues Tropical Cyclone Advices [10] and developed the Standard Emergency Warning Signal used for warnings. The bureau is responsible for tropical cyclone naming for storms in waters surrounding Australia. Three lists of names used to be maintained, one for each of the western, northern and eastern Australian regions. [11] However, as of the start of the 2008–09 Tropical Cyclone Year these lists have been rolled into one main national list of tropical cyclone names. [11]

The regional offices are supported by the Bureau National Operations Centre (BNOC) which is also located at the head office in Melbourne Docklands.

The bureau maintains a network of field offices across the continent, on neighbouring islands and in Antarctica. There is also a network of some 500 paid co-operative observers and approximately 6,000 voluntary rainfall observers.

Directors

The following people have been directors of the Bureau of Meteorology:

DirectorTerm
Henry Ambrose Hunt 1908–31
William S Watt 1931–40
H. Norman Warren 1940–50
Edward W Timcke 1950–55
Leonard J Dwyer 1955–62
William J Gibbs 1962–78
John Zillman 1978–2003
Geoff Love2003–08
Neville Smith (Acting Director)2008–09
Greg Ayers 2009–12 [12]
Rob Vertessy2012–16 [13]
Andrew Johnson6 September 2016 – present [14]

Technology

In the head office a Cray XC40 supercomputer called "Australis" provides the operational computing capability for weather, climate, ocean and wave numerical prediction and simulation, while other Unix servers support the computer message switching system and real-time data base. The Australian Integrated Forecast System affords the main computing infrastructure in the regional offices. Numerical weather prediction is performed using the Unified Model software. The Bureau of Meteorology announced the Cray contract [15] in July 2015, commissioned the Cray XC40 supercomputer [16] on 30 June 2016 and decommissioned their Oracle HPC system in October 2016.

See also

Related Research Articles

National Weather Service U.S. forecasting agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the Washington metropolitan area. The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 until it adopted its current name in 1970.

Tropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones are named by various warning centers to simplify communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches, and warnings. The names are intended to reduce confusion in the event of concurrent storms in the same basin. Generally once storms produce sustained wind speeds of more than 33 knots, names are assigned in order from predetermined lists depending on which basin they originate. However, standards vary from basin to basin: some tropical depressions are named in the Western Pacific, while tropical cyclones must have a significant amount of gale-force winds occurring around the centre before they are named in the Southern Hemisphere.

Tropical cyclone warnings and watches are alerts issued by national weather forecasting bodies to coastal areas threatened by the imminent approach of a tropical cyclone of tropical storm or hurricane intensity. They are notices to the local population and civil authorities to make appropriate preparation for the cyclone, including evacuation of vulnerable areas where necessary. It is important that interests throughout the area of an alert make preparations to protect life and property, and do not disregard it on the strength of the detailed forecast track. Tropical cyclones are not points, and forecasting their track remains an uncertain science.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center Joint United States Navy – United States Air Force command

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is a joint United States Navy – United States Air Force command in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The JTWC is responsible for the issuing of tropical cyclone warnings in the North-West Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean for all branches of the U.S. Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies. Their warnings are intended for the protection of primarily military ships and aircraft as well as military installations jointly operated with other countries around the world.

India Meteorological Department Meteorological agency of the Government of India

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology. IMD is headquartered in Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica. Regional offices are at Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur, Guwahati and New Delhi.

PAGASA national weather, climate, and astronomy bureau of the Philippines

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration is the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) agency of the Philippines mandated to provide protection against natural calamities and to insure the safety, well-being and economic security of all the people, and for the promotion of national progress by undertaking scientific and technological services in meteorology, hydrology, climatology, astronomy and other geophysical sciences. Created on December 8, 1972, by reorganizing the Weather Bureau, PAGASA now serves as one of the Scientific and Technological Services Institutes of the Department of Science and Technology.

A Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) is responsible for the distribution of information, advisories, and warnings regarding the specific program they have a part of, agreed by consensus at the World Meteorological Organization as part of the World Weather Watch.

Tropical cyclone seasonal forecasting is the process of predicting the number of tropical cyclones in one of the world's seven tropical cyclone basins during a particular tropical cyclone season. In the north Atlantic Ocean, one of the most widely publicized annual predictions comes from the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University. These reports are written by Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray.

2010–11 Australian region cyclone season Tropical cyclone season

The 2010–11 Australian region cyclone season was a near average tropical cyclone season, with eleven tropical cyclones forming compared to an average of 12. The season was also the costliest recorded in the Australian region basin, with a total of $3.62 billion in damages, mostly from the destructive Cyclone Yasi. The season began on 1 November 2010 and ended on 30 April 2011, although the first tropical cyclone formed on 28 October. The Australian region is defined as being to the south of the equator, between the 90th meridian east and 160th meridian east. Tropical cyclones in this area are monitored by five Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWC's): Jakarta, Port Moresby, Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane, each of which have the power to name a tropical cyclone. The TCWC's in Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane are run by the Bureau of Meteorology, who designate significant tropical lows with a number and the U suffix. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center also issues unofficial warnings for the region, designating significant tropical cyclones with the "S" suffix when they form west of 135°E, and the "P" suffix when they form east of 135°E.

2011–12 Australian region cyclone season Tropical cyclone season

The 2011–12 Australian region cyclone season was a below average tropical cyclone season, with 7 cyclones forming rather than the usual 11. It began on 1 November 2011, and ended on 14 May 2012. The regional tropical cyclone operational plan defines a "tropical cyclone year" separately from a "tropical cyclone season"; the "tropical cyclone year" began on 1 July 2011 and ended on 30 June 2012.

2012–13 Australian region cyclone season Tropical cyclone season

The 2012–13 Australian region cyclone season was a slightly below average tropical cyclone season event in the ongoing cycle of tropical cyclone formation. It officially started on 1 November 2012, and officially ended on 30 April 2013, despite Cyclone Zane being an active system at the time. The regional tropical cyclone operational plan defines a "tropical cyclone year" separately from a "tropical cyclone season"; the "tropical cyclone year" began on 1 July 2012 and ended on 30 June 2013.

2013–14 Australian region cyclone season Tropical cyclone season

The 2013–14 Australian region cyclone season was a slightly below-average tropical cyclone season, with 10 tropical cyclones occurring within the Australian region. It officially started on 1 November 2013, and ended on 30 April 2014. The regional tropical cyclone operational plan defines a "tropical cyclone year" separately from a "tropical cyclone season"; the "tropical cyclone year" began on 1 July 2013 and ended on 30 June 2014.

2015–16 Australian region cyclone season Tropical cyclone season

The 2015–16 Australian region cyclone season was the least active tropical cyclone season since reliable records started during 1969, with only three named tropical cyclones developing in the region. Reasons for the low activity during the year included a positive Indian Ocean Dipole occurring and the 2014–16 El Niño event. Ahead of the season starting; the Australian Bureau of Meteorology predicted that there was a 91% chance that the season would be below average. As the 2015–16 tropical cyclone year opened on 1 July 2015, the newly named Tropical Cyclone Raquel moved south-westward into the Australian region. Over the next couple of days, the system meandered around 160°E and moved through the Solomon Islands, before it was last noted on 5 July. The basin subsequently remained quiet with only several weak tropical lows developing, before the first named tropical cyclone of the season was named Stan during 29 January 2016.

2019–20 Australian region cyclone season Tropical cyclone season

The 2019–20 Australian region cyclone season was a below average tropical cyclone season for the waters surrounding Australia between longitudes 90°E and 160°E. The season officially began on 1 November 2019 and ended on 30 April 2020; however, tropical cyclones can form at any time of year, as evidenced by Tropical Cyclone Mangga during May 2020. As such, any system existing between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020 would count towards the season total. The season featured the region's second-latest start on record, with the formation of the first tropical low only occurring on 4 January 2020. A total of eight tropical cyclones formed during the season, which represents the region's least active season since the 2016–17 season. Three systems intensified further into severe tropical cyclones, and three systems made landfall within the region at tropical cyclone intensity. A total of 28 fatalities were caused, either directly or indirectly, as a result of impacts from the season's systems. Severe Tropical Cyclone Damien, the strongest of the year, became the strongest tropical cyclone to strike Western Australia's Pilbara Region since Cyclone Christine in 2013.

Cyclone Alessia

Tropical Cyclone Alessia was the first tropical cyclone to affect the Northern Territory of Australia in November since Cyclone Joan in 1975. The storm was first identified as a tropical low on 20 November 2013 well to the northwest of Australia. Tracking generally west to west-southwest, the small system steadily organized into a tropical cyclone by 22 November. Maintaining a small central dense overcast, Alessia brushed the Kimberley region before making landfall in the Top End region with winds of 65 km/h (40 mph) on 23 and 24 November respectively. Some weakening took place as the system moved over land; however, reorganization occurred as it neared the Gulf of Carpentaria. After moving over water on 26 November, it redeveloped gale-force winds. Alessia reached its peak intensity on 27 November with winds of 85 km/h (50 mph) and a barometric pressure of 991 mbar and subsequently made its final landfall near Wollogorang. Weakening ensued once more as the storm traveled over land; though, Alessia's remnants looped eastward back over water before doubling back to the west. The system was last noted moving inland again over the Northern Territory on 1 December.

Tuvalu Meteorological Service

The Tuvalu Meteorological Service (TMS) is the principal meteorological observatory of Tuvalu and is responsible for providing weather services to the islands of Tuvalu. A meteorological office was established on Funafuti at the time the islands of Tuvalu were administered as parts of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony of the United Kingdom. The meteorological office is now an agency of the government of Tuvalu.

Cray XC40 Supercomputer manufactured by Cray

The Cray XC40 is a massively parallel multiprocessor supercomputer manufactured by Cray. It consists of Intel Haswell Xeon processors, with optional Nvidia Tesla or Intel Xeon Phi accelerators, connected together by Cray's proprietary "Aries" interconnect, stored in air-cooled or liquid-cooled cabinets. The XC series supercomputers are available with the Cray DataWarp applications I/O accelerator technology.

Cyclone Marcia

Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia was a powerful tropical cyclone that made landfall at its peak strength over central Queensland, near Shoalwater Bay on 20 February 2015. The cyclone went on to affect various areas including Yeppoon and Rockhampton. It passed just to the west of Yeppoon as a Category 4 system, then traversed over the regional city of Rockhampton as a Category 2 system on the same day. Eventually, the cyclone weakened, moved southeast out to sea, before dissipating. Marcia caused at least A$750 million (US$587 million) worth of damage.

References

  1. "Meteorology in the 20th Century". Federation and Meteorology. University of Melbourne: Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre. August 2001. p. 1600. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  2. "BOM celebrates 100 years". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
  3. "Collections in Perth: 20. Meteorology". National Archives of Australia. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  4. "A short history of the Bureau of Meteorology". Bureau of Meteorology. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  5. Carment, David (1975). Australian liberal: a political biography of Sir Littleton Groom, 1867-1936 (PDF) (PhD thesis). Australian National University. pp. 54–55.
  6. "Meteorology in Australia". Year Book Australia, 1988. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  7. "The Meteorology Act 1955". Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre. 2001. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  8. "World Meteorological Centre, Melbourne". Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre. 2001. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  9. "Bureau of Meteorology Head Office 700 Collins Street". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  10. Tropical Cyclone Advices, Bureau of Meteorology, 2009
  11. 1 2 "Tropical Cyclone Names". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  12. "Government thanks outgoing Bureau of Meteorology director, Dr Greg Ayers". Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. 20 February 2012. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  13. "'Perilous': Bureau of Meteorology boss Rob Vertessy exits with climate warning". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 April 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  14. "Dr Andrew Johnson appointed as Director of Meteorology". Bureau of Meteorology. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  15. "New Supercomputer to supercharge weather warnings and forecasts". Bureau of Meteorology. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  16. "New Bureau supercomputer successfully commissioned". Bureau of Meteorology. 19 November 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2017.