A vertical wind profiler, which replaces upper air wind observations using weather balloons, has been installed as part of a new, purpose-built meteorological office at Ceduna on South Australia’s west coast.


Officially opening the new Bureau of Meteorology office, Senator Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water said Ceduna is the first of nine offices nationally to receive the new wind profiler.


"This new vertical wind profiler enables continuous reporting of winds from 300m to 5km above the station," Senator Farrell said.


"Traditionally, upper atmospheric wind data are collected using weather balloons, released up to four times per day. The new wind profiler can produce vertical wind profiles every 30 minutes, greatly improving the ability to monitor storms and weather systems, and support accurate and timely forecasts and warnings.


"It allows the weather radar to provide a 24-hour continuous weather watch for the region, without having to switch to weather balloon tracking mode for several hours each day." The $3.1 million new Ceduna office is part of a total federal funding investment of $34 million to upgrade 12 of the Bureau’s oldest meteorological offices across Australia, bringing them in line with the most sophisticated observations stations in the network.


Senator Farrell said the Ceduna weather station had also received an upgraded radar on a taller tower – at a height of 16 metres – which enables continuous weather surveillance over a greater range, out to approximately 150km.


"The new wind profiler and radar provide enhanced weather information of vital importance for South Australia. They also enhance the Bureau’s national network of observations across land, sea and air," Senator Farrell said.


"The new facilities help forecasters understand the weather in an area of Australia where data have been relatively sparse. The facilities will provide valuable information through the Bureau’s website for the benefit of industry, the aviation and rural sectors, local emergency services and the general public."


Operating since 1939, Ceduna is one of about fifty stations in Australia that are part of a global network of surface and upper air monitoring stations feeding data into sophisticated computer models.


The new facility has been designed to be environmentally sustainable and withstand the extreme weather conditions expected on South Australia’s west coast.