South Australia Information

Adelaide (Buckland Park)

  • Location: Buckland Park. (lat 34.617° S, long 138.469° E)
  • Type: Meteor 1500S (S-Band).
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

Geographical Situation

The radar is located on the coastal plain 35 km north-northwest of the Adelaide city centre. The main topographic feature of the region is the Mount Lofty Ranges, running roughly north to south from Burra to Cape Jervis. Shallow rain showers or drizzle beyond the ranges, particularly to the east and southeast, can be obscured from the radar's view. Otherwise, coverage is only limited by the distance from the radar, and the curvature of the earth.

Meteorological Aspects

Rain bearing weather systems usually approach Adelaide from the western half of the skyline, predominantly from the southwest through to the north. The Buckland Park radar is ideally situated to detect and track these systems. While the Mount Lofty Ranges may obscure the radar's view of shallow rain showers or drizzle on the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges, heavy rain and thunderstorms in this area can be easily detected.

Non-meteorological echoes

In most cases, processing of the radar signal removes permanent echoes caused by hills, buildings and other solid objects, but sometimes a few slip through. These show up as small, stationary patches of light rain, mostly along the higher ground of the Mount Lofty Ranges. Under stable atmospheric conditions, particularly when low level temperature inversions are present, anomalous propagation may cause patches of echoes to appear along the eastern coastline of Yorke Peninsula, southern Gulf St Vincent, parts of Kangaroo Island and Fleurieu Peninsula.

When the seas in Gulf St Vincent are very rough, some sea clutter may be visible in the sector to the west and southwest, out to about 30 km. This sea clutter tends to remain in the same area and therefore can be distinguished from rain echoes, which generally move with the wind.

On occasions, the moving blades of wind turbines at the wind farms near Edithburgh on Yorke Peninsula and Cape Jervis on southern Fleurieu Peninsula may also be detected as isolated, stationary echoes.

Example of sea clutter and typical weather pattern.

Map displaying example of sea clutter near Kangaroo
Island.

Typical weather map when sea clutter occurs near Kanagaroo
Island.

Adelaide (Sellicks Hill)

  • Location: Sellicks Hill, approximately 45 km south of Adelaide Airport (lat 35.33° S, long 138.50° E)
  • Type: WF 100 (C-Band, 5 centimetre wavelength).
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

The Sellicks Hill radar is located on top of an escarpment which is part of the southern extension of the Mt Lofty Ranges. The escarpment is orientated from northeast to southwest. The radar antenna elevation is approximately 350 metres above sea level.

The radar has excellent coverage in all directions up to a range of 250 km. In windy conditions, partial beam reflection from waves on Gulf St Vincent (5 km to the west) results in a quasi permanent weak echo area extending from approximately 315 degrees true to 240 degrees true. This can be distinguished from real echoes which are smaller in size and usually show steady mobility.

Heavy rain directly over the radar site can cause attenuation of all signals. Path attenuation can also occur when the radar beam passes through intense rainfall, with the returned signal from cells further along that path reduced.

Ceduna

  • Location: Ceduna Airport (lat 32.13° S, long 133.70° E)
  • Type: WF 100 (C-Band, 5 centimetre wavelength).
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

The Ceduna radar is located at the Meteorological Office which is 3 km east of the township of Ceduna. The surrounding terrain is generally low lying and featureless. The waters of the Great Australian Bight are about 5 km to the southwest of the radar. The radar antenna elevation is 25 metres above sea level.

The radar has very good coverage in all directions up to a range of about 250km. "False echoes" or Anomalous Propagation (AP) can occur on limited occasions in summer where a sea breeze inversion becomes established over the coastal waters. AP can be identified by its static appearance and can normally be distinguished from "real" echoes which exhibit some movement.

Heavy rain directly over the radar site can cause attenuation of all signals. Path attenuation can also occur when the radar beam passes through intense rainfall, with the returned signal from cells further along that path reduced.

Mt Gambier

  • Location: Mt Gambier Airport (lat 37.75° S, long 140.77° E)
  • Type: WF 100 C-Band
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

The Mt Gambier radar is located at the Meteorological Office, 9 km north of the city of Mt Gambier. The elevation of the radar antenna is 84 metres above sea level. Extensive pine forests lie to the near north and west of the Meteorological Office. The radar has good coverage in most directions up to a range of about 200km. It should provide useful weather information as far north as the eastern fringes of the Little Desert National Park, west to Cape Jaffa and east to Warrnambool. False echoes can occasionally be observed very close to the radar, especially in stable conditions. These anomalous propagations are easily identified and are displayed as a mass of low intensity echoes, constantly changing shape with no apparent direction in movement from one radar scan to the next. They can normally be distinguished from "real" echoes which are larger, exhibit more uniform movement and change character more steadily. Echoes within approximately five kilometres of the radar and overhead can be poorly resolved as the scanning elevation is too low. Apart from these features, the radar performs well and gives a reasonably accurate representation of rainfall intensity.

Woomera

  • Location: Woomera Airport (lat 31.16° S, long 136.80° E)
  • Type: WF 100 (C-Band, 5 centimetre wavelength).
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

The Woomera radar is located at the Meteorological Office which is 6 km north of the township of Woomera. The surrounding terrain is generally flat and feature less. The Flinders Ranges rise about 130 km to the east, and the northern extremity of Spencer Gulf lies 170 km to the southeast. The radar antenna elevation is 170 metres above sea level.

The radar has good coverage in all directions up to a range of about 250 km. "False echoes" or Anomalous Propagation (AP) can occur on limited occasions overnight when a radiation inversion becomes established. AP can be identified by its static appearance and can normally be distinguished from "real" echoes which exhibit some movement.