Oil, gas firms fund cyclone research

REASERCH into tropical cyclone forecasting could get a boost from global energy companies, with Chevron Australia, Shell Australia Pty Ltd, Woodside and INPEX setting aside $A3.2 million for the effort.
Oil, gas firms fund cyclone research Oil, gas firms fund cyclone research Oil, gas firms fund cyclone research Oil, gas firms fund cyclone research Oil, gas firms fund cyclone research

The companies will use the money to jointly develop new systems, including wave fields over the Western Australian Shelf and nearby waters.

The money was secured through the Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF), which will fund the research for two years and will be carried out by the Australia Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

It builds on the bureau's research in tropical cyclones, but will focus on the enhanced prediction of the impact of global weather systems, and low pressure systems which are likely to develop into cyclones.

The results expected to enhance cyclone response planning and public weather forecasting services for the community. It would extend the number of days in advance BOM can accurately track the path of a cyclone.

ITF regional manager Peter Brazier said: "Operational planning and risk mitigation by the offshore industry requires high-quality weather and wave guidance and the ability to determine multiple scenarios to manage risk.

"Being able to predict tropical cyclone formation and development earlier and more accurately reduces risk, improves decision making and could also reduce costs by decreasing operational down-time and unnecessary interruptions to construction operations."

Accuracy in cyclone forecasts requires access to high volumes of real-time data and weather observations, supercomputing capacity to analyse the data and run higher resolution forecasting models, and new research to improve these models.

BOM research head, Dr Peter May said there would be tangible benefits for the oil and gas industry, with the research outcomes being built into ongoing improvements in public weather forecasting.

"Greater accuracy in cyclone forecasting will ultimately enable operators to calculate risk more effectively and improve operational decisions," he said.

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