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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
15 December 2003
While technology has significantly improved weather forecasting over the years, it is also technology that has meant the Bureau of Meteorology has built a new tracking antenna outside of the Melbourne metropolitan area.
The increasing use of mobile phones and number of tall buildings in the city has had an adverse impact on the quality of the signal received at the antenna on top of the Bureau's headquarters in Melbourne.
Announcing the antenna in Melbourne today, Dr Sharman Stone, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, said Crib Point, 70 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, was to be its new home.
"The new $250,000 installation will streamline reception of imagery from weather satellites, providing meteorologists with additional data on which to base forecasts and warnings," Dr Stone said.
"It will provide forecasters with high quality imagery from polar orbiting satellites operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the China Meteorological Administration.
"The polar orbiting satellites orbit the earth via the Poles, moving progressively across the globe.
"Their paths allow imaging that complements the imagery from geostationary satellites which are locked into position above the earth's equator."
Dr Stone said timing of the installation was particularly critical to compensate for any interruptions to satellite data caused by possible delays to the launch of Japan's new geostationary meteorological satellite.
"Operations at Crib Point are covered under bilateral agreements between the Australian Government and countries including Japan and the People's Republic of China," Dr Stone said.
"Australia provides operations support to meteorological satellites in exchange for valuable meteorological data."
The new parabolic reflector antenna is protected from the elements by a specialised dome and mounted on a three-metre tower in the Bureau's Satellite Earth Station at Crib Point.