As you have probably worked out, we must be the world's worst correspondents - so this is our attempt to keep all of you up to date with us. If you have been wondering what we are up to - hopefully you will find the answers here..........

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How is the weather on Norfolk Island?

Last Thursday night I attended the monthly dinner meeting of Club L which is a ladies only dinner club. Each month we have a different speaker - it really is extraordinary the number of very interesting, intelligent and vibrant women we have on this small Island. Our speaker was Maria Fisher who has recently come to Norfolk Island as the Weather Observer at the Bureau of Meteorology. At the end of her talk she offered to show us around her workplace and explain weather observing.

So at 10.30am I was there......

We have 3 Weather Observers on the Island so the station is 'manned' all day every day. The Observers not only supply weather information to the community but also assess the conditions for all flights in and out of the airport.

Because the computers only work off limited data they often 'see' and report conditions which are not the reality, therefore the human observers need to override and supplement the reports with actual observations.
A weather balloon is released at 10.45am each morning and tracked via manual and automatic radar. The balloon is hydrogen filled and carries a 'reflector' for radar detection and a small $200 gadget which sends back information about temperature, moisture levels and wind direction. This gadget actually dangle well below the balloon so that it is in 'clear' airspace.

The hydrogen for the balloon is actually generated on site by filtering water into oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere.

The station also has all the usual apparatus out on the grassy paddock.

The wind direction indicator (with Maria)

  The sunshine measurer - a perfect glass globe

Wet and dry bulb, alcohol & mercury thermometers
                           in a Stevenson Box.                                                            

  The 'offical' rain gauge with standardise measuring flask

Maria says that the simplest way of forecasting the weather is to check out the weather over Phillip Island because whatever is happening over there is on it's way to Norfolk Island!
I really enjoyed my morning at the Met Office and ever since I have found myself watching the clouds and trying to guess the next 5 minute's weather!

Thank you Maria.............

1 comment:

  1. This is pretty cool! How fun to have an all girls get together like that and learn such interesting things. The sunshine measurer looks more like a piece of art than a scientific instrument!