November 17, 2016

Newly-installed meteorological sensors support Kaikoura evacuation

Accurate forecasting of weather conditions for helicopter and small boat operations was essential for the evacuation by the NZDF and our Allies of civilians from Kaikoura.

Loss of communication with MetService’s automatic weather station at Kaikoura meant vital local observations were not available to help inform all-important aviation weather forecasts. A quick link up between NZDF and MetService lead to HMNZS WELLINGTON stepping in and providing observations from its newly-installed meteorological sensors directly to forecasters. The resulting aviation forecasts helped NZDF operators manage the safety and efficiency of the evacuation.

HMNZS WELLINGTON’s new meterological weather station was developed by the Defence Technology Agency and was only was installed in the last week of October ahead of the ship’s voyage to the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea.  The sensors installed are capable of operating from the equator to the poles, with a specific focus on supporting aviation tasks including the currently-deployed Remotely Piloted Aerial System.

The installation was completed by Babock, MetService and the NZDF Defence Technology Agency, over a 2 day period.

Read more about the operation here [Manawatu Standard on Stuff.co.nz]