The Bureau of Meteorology will upgrade the Berrimah radar in Darwin ahead of the next tropical cyclone season, ensuring the community will continue to have reliable access to critical weather information well into the future.

Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment today announced that the Bureau had already commenced work on the logistics of the upgrade, with construction to be completed ahead of the 2014-15 tropical cyclone season.

“The Berrimah radar is now 22 years old and while the tower and dome infrastructure remain in good condition, the functional components of the radar need to be replaced, including the antenna, transmitter and receiver,” said Senator Birmingham.

“Berrimah radar provides coverage to the Northern Territory’s cyclone-prone coastal region and this replacement will ensure forecasters are able to monitor severe weather events including thunderstorms, low pressure systems and tropical cyclones.”

The work will require the shutdown of the radar for up to six weeks. During the outage the community will have access to the Darwin Airport radar and forecasters are also able to use satellite imagery, lightning detection and other observations to maintain forecast and warning services.

Natasha Griggs, Member for Solomon joined Senator Birmingham at the Bureau of Meteorology’s Darwin office to make the announcement.“Radars are important tools for monitoring tropical cyclones and severe thunderstorms,” said Mrs Natasha Griggs.

“This upgrade will ensure the Berrimah radar can continue to service the Northern Territory community accurately and I will welcome the completion of the upgraded radar ahead of the next tropical cyclone season,” said Mrs Griggs.

“The radar will be replaced as part of the Bureau’s Radar Replacement Program,” Senator Birmingham said.

“The typical working lifetime of a radar in the Bureau’s network is in the range of 20 – 30 years and the Radar Replacement Program allows for the replacement of two to three radars each year,” said Senator Birmingham.