Bureau Of Meteorology
You know you’ve officially become a Sydneysider when you become obsessed with “The Southerly”. When’s it due? Why hasn’t it got here yet? It’s reached the airport - bloody-well hurry up.
In Sydney, having the Bureau of Meteorology as your homepage is not considered weird.
We’ve been bitching and moaning for months about how wet it is, how cold it is, how we wanted to spend Christmas at the beach but it raaaaiiined. Then yesterday in Sydney we had our first day over 30 degrees for the summer, and last night it didn’t get down below 25.5 degrees at Observatory Hill. You’d think this event would be welcomed with wild celebrations yes? Not in Sydney. Today we’re all soooo tiiiirrred because none of us could sleep properly.
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Are you reading this piece using wi-fi? You wouldn’t be if Australian scientists had not invented technology that wirelessly connects computers, TV sets and phones across the planet.
Australian science has led to the development of Relenza – the first drug successful in treating the flu - meaning that fewer Australians suffer or die from it every year. In a typical Australian winter, around 1,500 deaths are attributed to the influenza virus.
Australian science has given us climate-ready crops. Crops that will make sure families can continue to place basic food items on the table despite changing weather patterns. Crops that give us wheat to export when other nations fall short, and that keep our balance-of-trade figures looking vaguely respectable.
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Everyone loves to bag the weatherman. But the cold, hard truth of the matter is that weather forecasts have become extremely reliable. It’s everyone else who gets it wrong.
By “everyone else” I mean both the general public and the media. As messengers, the media often over-simplify the bureau’s raw data to the point of abstraction, while the public takes the game of Chinese Whispers a step further, wildly misinterpreting the media’s already-distorted forecasts.
It happens every day. A forecast that says “slight chance of a shower” becomes an umbrella icon on a ditzy weather presenter’s weather chart, which the public then read as a certain deluge.
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