8 December 2008

The devastation of the severe thunderstorms that recently swept across Brisbane’s north-west has highlighted the importance of reliable, real-time weather forecasting, known as “now-casting”.

In a seminar given at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. Queensland Section’s recent Annual General Meeting, University of Queensland Emeritus Professor Mat Darveniza described recent major advances in now-casting techniques.

Emeritus Professor Daveniza said that combining digital weather radar with the location of lighting ground flashes could provide real-time information about the severity and likely progress of thunderstorms.

“Now-casting techniques used by the Bureau of Meteorology are improving our ability to accurately predict the weather in short time-frames, especially severe thunderstorms,” Emeritus Professor Darveniza said.

“A timely warning of a damaging thunderstorm has the potential to save a lot of people money and heartache, as we saw with many people being devastated by the recent storms here in Brisbane.”

At the seminar, Emeritus Professor Darveniza gave examples of several recent thunderstorms to illustrate the now-casting techniques and their potential for issuing warnings of the possible occurrence of the extremely severe super-cell thunderstorms.

Emeritus Professor Darveniza has had a distinguished career at The University of Queensland and is internationally recognised for his research on thunderstorms and lightning protection.

After many years of university work on electrical engineering education, high voltage technology and lightning protection, his present research interests are the reliability of power systems, particularly to distribution network outages caused by storms.

Dedicated to the advancement of technology, the IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed nearly 900 active industry standards.

He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional society, which annually sponsors more than 850 conferences worldwide.

Media: Associate Professor Vaughan Clarkson (07 3365 8834) or Tegan Taylor at UQ Communications (07 3365 2659).