Change in BOM forecasting system

27 Jul, 2016 02:00 AM
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior principal research scientist Harry Hendon.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior principal research scientist Harry Hendon.

THE Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) will have a new climate forecasting system up and running by next year.

The ACCESS-S system will replace the current Predictive Ocean Atmospheric Modeling for Australia (POAMA) tool.

The BOM’s senior principal research scientist Harry Hendon said one of the key upgrades of the new system would be better resolution.

“POAMA-2 has low resolution, with grids of 250km, whereas the new ACCESS-S will run on 60km grids,” Dr Hendon said at the recent Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) expo.

“To put that in perspective, we will now be able to see Tasmania clearly on the maps, we’ll be able to make out the Great Divide which has higher rainfall, it will generally be more accurate.”

Dr Hendon said the ACCESS-S system was being supported by the UK Met Office, with whom the BOM works closely.

In terms of forecasting, Dr Hendon said the BOM was working towards putting out a monthly forecast.

“In forecasting, a month is a big deal, we are working to get greater accuracy in that space, which would be important for agriculture,” he said.

He said an experimental version was already working.

Speaking in early July, he said the forecast was for an average first two weeks in north-west Victoria, followed by a wetter than average fortnight.

With a big system currently blowing through the state and reasonable, but unexceptional rain earlier in the month, the forecast is still on track to be accurate.

Dr Hendon said in the forecasting world there was an increasing focus on dynamic modeling.

“We are looking at what is coming up from our readings, rather than what happened in the past, such as historical statistics or readings.”

“There will be issues as we don’t know how well the models work in conditions where they haven’t been tested, but we will be monitoring it all closely.”

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media


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