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Bureau welcomes findings of Automatic Weather Station review

The Bureau of Meteorology has released findings of a Review into its Automatic Weather Station (AWS) network.

The Review was conducted by a Panel made up of three internationally recognised independent experts and two senior officers from the Bureau. The Panel was commissioned to evaluate the integrity of the AWS network following equipment failures in Goulburn and Thredbo which caused the loss of some temperature data below minus 10.4 degrees celsius.

The Review’s findings support the Bureau’s initial investigations that outages at temperatures below minus 10.4 degrees at both locations were the result of equipment in those locations not being fit for purpose. There were outages at below minus 10.4 degrees on one day in Goulburn and on six days in Thredbo.

The Review found that these outages had no impact on the official temperature record used for measuring long-term temperature change.

The Review found that overall, the Bureau’s equipment, verification process, quality checks, and processes for finding and acting on equipment failure are sound.

Notwithstanding, the Review found that there were failures in some of the Bureau’s internal processes dating back to the mid-1990s. Inadequate communication meant that hardware, unsuitable at very low temperatures, was inadvertently installed during repairs.

CEO and Director of Meteorology, Dr Andrew Johnson welcomed the findings of the report.

“I thank the Review Panel for this comprehensive and valuable report. The Bureau acknowledges its findings and will be implementing all of its recommendations to ensure the ongoing community confidence in our robust data quality control processes,” Dr Johnson said.

“As soon as we became aware of the problem with some of our equipment, we took immediate action to rectify the situation.

“The Bureau will be taking a highly precautionary approach in the future to ensure what happened in Thredbo and Goulburn doesn’t happen again. We will make sure any location that has recorded below -5 degrees celsius in the past has equipment capable of recording down to -25 degrees.

“This Review has demonstrated the Bureau’s commitment to maintain the highest international standards of practice for meteorological services.”

The full review can be viewed at the following link.

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