Staff cut as weather station goes fully automatic

Bureau of Meteorology weather observer Trevor Menadue’s position in Cobar will be made redundant as the Cobar Weather Station becomes fully automated by the end of next week.

Local weather man Trevor Menadue will spend his last days at the Cobar Meteorological Office next week after his position was made redundant as the weather station becomes fully automated.

In February this year the BOM announced there would be staff cuts to 22 field offices as part of its program to improve, modernise and automate the collection of meteorological data across Australia.

“The program is guided by the Bureau’s Observing System Strategy 2014-2020 and Beyond and is focused on maintaining and improving service levels through the Bureau’s observing network,” Mr Menadue said.

After more than 50 years of operation, the Cobar Weather Station will be de-staffed next Friday with Mr Menadue to be re-deployed to one of BOM’s new Activity Hubs in Melbourne.

The Cobar station is one of many that will become automated this week.

“We are not alone,” Mr Menadue said.

Other regional stations which are being de-staffed this week or have already been de-staffed include Moree, Charleville, Mount Isa, Woomera, Mount Gambier and Mildura.

“All of the instruments here will be sending out the data, which they did before,” Mr Menadue explained how the service would work.

He said this “raw data” is already being automatically posted online where anyone can access it.

“So nothing’s changed in relation to the data but one of the main jobs I had was the balloon—the tracking of the balloons and loading them. That’s now going to be done through a remote fly-in service. Someone will come out from Sydney to do that about every four or five weeks.”

When Mr Menadue departs there will however be no more visits to the weather station for tourists and school children.

Landholders and pilots who have any questions about what’s happening with the weather in Cobar will be referred to the Sydney hub.

Mr Menadue said the daily radio local weather reports he used to do are now also being taken over by the Sydney office.

The climate records and aviation observation reports he did will now also be automated with the bureau’s instruments now able to determine cloud height and visibility.

Mr Menadue said leaving is not his choice.

He has worked at the Cobar station for nine years, and this was his second posting to Cobar having been station manager in 2005 when the new station was constructed.

“We’ve had a good time in Cobar,” he said.