Weather bureau forecast: closed

LAUNCESTON will lose its Bureau of Meteorology presence on May 30.

The Transit Centre shopfront, in Cimitiere Street, will close and its employee will return to Hobart.

Weather bureau regional director for Tasmania and Antarctica John Bally said that the organisation was strengthening its nationwide frontline forecasting capacity with federal budget funding for a new supercomputer to ensure the bureau could deliver high quality forecasts and warnings.

The new computer would replace the current model about mid-2016.

"The Launceston office position has been transferred to Hobart to increase the bureau's forecasting capacity," Mr Bally said.

"After Friday, May 30, radio presenters will be able to talk directly to the forecast office instead of the Launceston office staff having to call the Hobart forecasters for an update before they go on air.

"The Hobart forecast office is open 24-7, monitoring the weather and updating forecasts and warnings."

Mr Bally said that the new supercomputer would improve weather services for the community by increasing forecast accuracy, particularly for small-scale weather features such as the location and timing of cold fronts, localised wind changes in bushfire situations and the location and intensity of rainfall.

"The forecasts will also be more up-to-date, with forecasts able to be provided more frequently for extreme weather situations," he said.

"During bushfires, this means the bureau will have the capacity to run localised forecast models for up to four different fires at any one time whereas now it can only run one for the highest priority."

Mr Bally said that the processing capability of the new supercomputer would be more than 10 times that of the current computer and it would boast a performance equivalent to 25,000 desktop computers.


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