While most of us like knowing whether to pack an umbrella when leaving the house, for Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) national manager for Defence operations James Lannan, it’s just the opposite.
“My favourite thing about the weather is its unpredictability. It forces you to continue learning every day,” he said.
The self-confessed 'rare breed' leads the Defence decision support meteorologists at RAAF and Army bases across the country, feeding pilots the latest forecasts.
“You don’t end up here unless you have a passion for the weather,” Mr Lannan said.
“That’s a pretty consistent thing about the weather world.”
It takes more than a passion to get a job with the BOM — meteorologists are maths and physics graduates and receive a diploma from the Bureau following a training year — but this passion translates to reducing risk for military aviators.
Stationed at seven bases, these 'mets' produce 12-24-hour terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAF), which are supplemented by a three-hour trend type forecast (TTF).
But from November 5, BOM will cease the TTF and introduce a new rapid update TAF called the TAF3.
Manager for Defence operations – military aviation Peter Davidson said TAF3 was essentially a TAF, updated every three hours, with the first three hours containing all the flight planning rules currently afforded by the TTF.
“We have collaborated with Headquarters Air Command Operational Airworthiness and identified issues with the 'standard' TAF3 and built in changes to minimise impact to Defence capability,” Mr Davidson said.
“This included increasing the update frequency to hourly, in order to maximise Defence's ability to use fuel alleviation provisions.”
Thanks to Australia's latest global weather model, meteorologists will soon be able to better predict the weather anywhere in the world, with a high degree of accuracy, according to Mr Lannan.
In addition to the Defence decision support meteorologists, BOM also has a 24/7 team operating within Headquarters Joint Operations Command, supporting global operations and exercises.