This collaborative effort will draw upon the earlier, highly successful, collaborations that were established on the eastern side of Australia over the past decade. The New South Wales Regional Forecast Centre and UNSW developed successful joint research projects in a number of areas. First was a very high resolution numerical modelling program for the greater Sydney area, to support the operational weather forecasting for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This modelling system, a version of the UNSW HIRES model, was run in real time at resolutions down to 1 kilometre across a domain that encompassed all of the Sydney Olympic Games venues. The model output provided valuable information for the forecasters involved in the delivery of weather support to the Sydney Olympic Games.
Another very successful collaboration continues in NSW. Wildfires are a major problem over the whole of the Australian continent. However, the mountainous terrain of coastal eastern Australia is particularly vulnerable to uncontrolled fire outbreaks. The Rural Fire Service of NSW is the prime response agency for wildfire events. A joint research and operational support project was established and continues today that combines the UNSW HIRES model with the on-ground feedback from the Rural Fire Service, and the real-time forecasting support provided by the meteorologists at the NSW Regional Forecasting Centre.
A new research initiative has just commenced between the UNSW, the University of Oklahoma, and the Western Australian Regional Forecasting Centre. High resolution modelling studies have begun investigating the impact of satellite data on rapidly developing mid latitude cyclones that form over the data sparse southern Indian Ocean and produce damaging bursts of storm force winds over the heavily populated south west corner of Western Australia. Two cases will be presented. The first is an intense low that produced severe winds over the south west of WA on 12 July 2002. The second event, on 16 May 2003, produced storm force winds and a 1 metre storm tide that severely eroded popular beaches and flooded major roads, including the main freeway feeding into the capital city of Western Australia. In both cases the combination of high resolution modelling and the incorporation of Quikscat scatterometer winds into the initial analysis led to excellent predictions of the storm structure 36 hours ahead.