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Extended Paraparaumu Technical Facility Opened

Issued at 12:01pm 20-Dec-2006
MetService Opens Extended Paraparaumu Technical Facility

A wet morning failed to dampen the enthusiasm of MetService staff celebrating the opening of an extended and upgraded technical maintenance facility at Paraparaumu today.

Chief Executive John Lumsden told staff and guests at a ribbon cutting ceremony how important these improvements will be for the continuing success of MetService: "Our forecasters simply could not function without the high-performing network of weather radars, automatic weather stations and upper air sounding stations operated by the Paraparaumu engineers,while the equally large network of weather stations that serve our customers,from Invercargill to Kaitaia, across the Pacific, and from Uluru to Lahore and London, contribute strongly to our business."

MetService's Paraparaumu facility - prominent within the airport complex with its golf ball-like radar dome - was originally constructed as an upper air observatory in 1987. MetData Services manager Tony Quayle reflected on its transition to a sophisticated maintenance facility: "The same technology advances that have given us cell phones and the internet have also revolutionised the way we make weather observations. Twenty years ago, most observations were made by observers reading instruments and observing sky and weather conditions. Now, we have automatic weather stations measuring all these elements and sending in data every minute. Balloon soundings are now easily managed by one person and, at Paraparaumu, are made by a contractor, Kapiti Weather Consultants."

MetData Services operations manager Bob Taylor, who runs the Paraparaumu facility, went to on explain how the 14-strong maintenance team supports these networks. "Every one of the almost 200 MetService and customer sites, including several in the Pacific, is visited at least annually for maintenance and calibration. A duty engineer is constantly on standby to attend to any equipment faults. Our calibration laboratory ensures our measurements are traceable to international standards," said Mr. Taylor.

Mr. Lumsden, who retires in the New Year, told staff that he was pleased that MetData Services group had an up-to-date facility for handling increasing customer demand and a widening observation network.

ENDS

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