A team of RMIT researchers are finalists in The Australian Innovation Challenge for their work on weather prediction and climate monitoring.
Professor Kefei Zhang, Director of the RMIT SPACE Research Centre, and his team have been named finalists in the ICT category for their research improving the reliability of Australian weather forecasting.
The $65,000 Australian Innovation Challenge awards are run by The Australian in association with Shell, with the support of the Department of Industry, and help drive some of the nation's best ideas to commercialisation or adoption.
RMIT SPACE Research Centre's selection as a finalist recognises its long-standing collaboration with the Bureau of Meteorology on the pioneering applications of Global Positions Systems Radio Occultation (GPS RO) technology to operational Australian meteorology and weather forecasting.
The research has been predominantly funded through various funding schemes including the DIISR International Science Link (ISL) with USA and China, the Australian Space Research Program project (ASRP2), the Australian Research Council and the Australian Antarctic Division grant schemes in the past eight years.
Professor Zhang said one significant outcome of this collaboration was an improvement in the accuracy of short-to-mid-term (3-5 day) weather forecasts in the Australian region by up to 10 hours.
"This substantial improvement was possible due to the innovative and novel idea to apply GPS RO frontier technology to the Bureau's weather prediction," he said.
"Australians rely on accurate weather forecasting and a high accuracy in predictions has great societal impact - particularly in agriculture, tourism, mining, transport and disaster response and management."
In 2012, GPS RO data was integrated into the Australian numerical weather predicting system and it is now considered one of the top five of the more than 30 data sources used.
Prior to this, Australia had not yet started to explore the use of GPS and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data for meteorology, weather forecasting and climate monitoring applications.
"GNSS are a critical space-based positioning infrastructure that can be used for a whole range of novel applications to benefit society and the environment," Professor Zhang said.
"The GPS RO methodology is based on a technology that measures the time delay and bending of radio signals transmitted between GPS navigation and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.
"This groundbreaking technology provides high accuracy, high resolution, all weather and bias-free measurements with global data coverage."
The RMIT SPACE Research Centre has been successful in attracting substantial research funding since 2008, and has already received national and international recognition for the research the Centre has done in this area.
Now in its fourth year, The Australian Innovation Challenge has attracted entries from researchers to start-up companies around the country.
The 2014 award winners will be announced in late November.
To support Professor Zhang and his team, head to the ICT section and choose Australian weather prediction and climate monitoring.
Voting closes at midnight on Wednesday, 19 November.