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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
&
Federal Member for Solomon
David Tollner MP
&
Federal Member for Mallee
John Forrest MP

19 January 2006

Scientists fly into eye of the storm


The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology, Mr David Tollner MP, Federal Member for Solomon and Mr John Forrest MP, Federal Member for Mallee jointly launched the opening of the Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE) in Darwin today.

The Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment is the largest international weather experiment to ever take place in Australia. It will give scientists an insight into the inner workings of cloud systems and the world's climate system. Many of the world's leading climate researchers, hailing from over ten countries and thirty research institutions, will spend a month in Darwin conducting the experiment.

"This is an exciting international weather experiment that will provide valuable information to ultimately improve weather and climate forecasting.

It is the culmination of over three years of planning that brings together over two hundred participants. The Bureau of Meteorology is a major player in both the planning and collection of the data with many of its key scientists taking part," Mr Hunt said.

Federal Member for Solomon, David Tollner MP, said the arrival of world class scientists in Darwin would provide an opportunity for scientists in Darwin to showcase the local environment.

"Darwin provides a fantastic natural laboratory for meteorological research. The results obtained during this experiment, together with regular monitoring in the area, will produce one of the most complete sets of tropical convection data ever collected," Mr Tollner said.

Mr Tollner's comments were echoed by Federal Member for Mallee, Mr John Forrest MP who has been working with Mr Hunt as a champion for weather research and climate modelling.

"Weather balloons will be launched every three hours from five sites to collect information on the heat and water exchange in the atmosphere.

Intensive measurements will be taken in and around the clouds using several research aircraft supported by ground and sea-based radar, and weather satellites. Australia's National Facility for Marine Research, the research vessel Southern Surveyor, will be positioned west of Darwin and will observe the interaction of the clouds and the oceans," Mr Forrest said.

The TWP-ICE partners include the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Airborne Research Australia, the US Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, NASA , and a consortium of universities in Australia, the US, Canada, Japan and Europe. The experiment will be supported by the RAAF.

The Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment will take place from the 19th January to the 16th February and will focus on a 250-kilometre radius around Darwin. The official opening ceremony will be at 9am, the Truscott Club, RAAF Base, Darwin.

Further information can be accessed from http://www.bom.gov.au/bmrc/wefor/research/twpice.htm

Media enquiries:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's office) 0415 740 722
Jonathan Hawkes (Mr Tollner's Office) 0401 119 789
Sally Turvey (Mr Forrest's Office) 03 5032 4510

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