West Takone Weather Radar Replacement

The Bureau of Meteorology has scheduled the West Takone weather radar to be replaced in 2016. The project is expected to begin in early February 2016 and is expected to take approximately eight weeks with a return to full operational service in April 2016.

The current radar has been in operation since 1995 and is well beyond its operational life which is around 15 years. In 2014, the radar site underwent an infrastructure upgrade in preparation for the radar replacement.

The upgraded radar will boost the Bureau's ability to monitor severe weather in northwest Tasmania. Doppler data from the radar will provide forecasters with improved tools to fine tune warnings for severe weather and for tracking wind changes.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is the Radar Offline?

When the project commences in February 2016 the current radar will be switched off and decommissioned. Radar images will not be available until the new radar has been installed and data evaluation completed.

When and how long will the radar be offline?

The radar will be switched off in early February and will be offline until early April.

What is the radar replacement process?

The West Takone radar was selected for replacement as part of the Bureau's Radar Sustainment Program. In consultation with staff in the Tasmanian Office the February – March period was identified as the most settled weather and the best time to take the radar offline for an extended period.

The new replacement radar was thoroughly tested during the latter half of 2015 in preparation for the installation.

Onsite Tasks

  • Removal of old radar
  • Installation of new (stronger) fittings as the replacement radar is physically larger and heavier
  • Installing the new radar to its supporting infrastructure
  • Radar testing – this process can take several weeks and includes calibrating the radar for local conditions
  • Data evaluation.

Will the radar page look the same?

The background radar images will look the same however improved quality and resolution is expected and there will be a new Doppler page.

What is difference between the existing and replacement radar?

Comparison Between Existing And The Replacement Radar

  Current Replacement Benefits
Contemporary Technology 1970's 2000's Designed around modern digital technology.
Peak Power 250 kW 300 kW Slightly increased power, providing measurements to a greater range.
Modulator Valve technology Solid State Solid state electronics make the timings of the radar pulse more accurate which leads to more accurate radar returns and range information.
Receiver Analogue Digital Digital signal can be fed into a greater range of downstream applications such as Doppler, Rainfields and ingestion into computer models.
Equivalent Receiver Resolution 256 levels 16,386 levels Vastly increased resolution and accuracy. Similar to the difference between two photos of the same object, where one is 60 KB the other is 3 MB.
Dish Size 2.4 m 4.2 m Allows a narrower beamwidth.
Beamwidth 1.7 degrees 1 degrees Narrower beam width focusses the signal over a smaller area giving more detail and greater clarity of image.
Data period 10 minute 6 minute More frequent data periods give the user a clearer idea of rain movement.

 

What new features come with the replacement radar?

The replacement radar comes with Doppler capabilities. View a full explanation of the Doppler.

What is the best weather information to access whilst the radar is offline?

These features will not take the place of the radar but will give you the best information available while the radar is offline.

Satellite Data
The recently released data from the Himawari-8 satellite gives very good coverage of the Tasmanian area. Data is updated every 10 minutes, cloud formations and fronts and lines of cloud can be clearly seen moving over and area. These images give an indication of the movement of rain bearing systems over Tasmania. See the Himawari-8 Satellite Viewer.

Find out more information about satellite images: www.bom.gov.au/australia/satellite/about_images.shtml

MetEye
The MetEye forecast system shows location specific forecasts of many weather elements including rainfall. Just open MetEye, zoom in and click on your location. A table similar to the one below will appear which give indications of forecast rainfall for the next 7 days. To further 'drill down' to when the rain will fall click on the See text views for location in the top right hand side of the box and the chance of rain and expected amounts will be shown in three hour blocks. The rain terminology used in these forecast have specific meanings. A brief look at the Rainfall Forecast Terminology FAQ will help you get the most from these forecasts.

Sample MetEye forecast

A box similar to this one appears when you click on the map in MetEye.

Tasmania Rainfall and River Conditions
This web page allows the user to access near real time rain amounts across Tasmania. Rainfall amounts are represented by coloured dots. If you 'mouse over' the dots the actual rainfall amount is given. Find this information at www.bom.gov.au/tas/flood. Alternatively, view tables for 1, 3, and 24-hour rainfall for your area.

Sample rainfall map

Sample rainfall and river conditions map.

Visit www.bom.gov.au/australia/radar/about for more information about radars.