Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Major Airports

Within the RCS Network, 49 of the 103 stations (47%) are located at airports, runways or air bases. We've already had a look at the 6 air bases, now let's turn our attention to the major airports which are serviced by commercial jets. There are (at least) 6 that fall into this category:

  1. 014105 - Darwin (NT)
  2. 015590 - Alice Springs (NT)
  3. 031011 - Cairns (Qld)
  4. 039083 - Rockhampton (Qld)
  5. 070014 - Canberra (ACT)
  6. 094008 - Hobart (Tas)
On the surface of it, it would appear that the BoM uses only the one photographer for airports. Here's a "compare and contrast" view of the six listed above.

Darwin Airport (1941)

First, the BoM "rural view". You could be forgiven for thinking this one was on the edge of a cow paddock:


Now the Google Earth "reality view":

Here we see that the station is actually sandwiched between the end of the runway and the encroaching suburbs of Darwin.

Update: For a discussion about the accuracy or otherwise of the temperature record at Darwin Airport, see Watts Up With That and Joanne Nova's blog.
Alice Springs Airport (1940)
BoM "rural view":

Google Earth "reality view":

Here we see that the station is more or less at the end of the runway. Planes landing or taking off will fly more or less right over the top of it.
Cairns Airport (1941)
BoM "rural view":

Google Earth "reality view":
Could it be possible to get any closer to the runway? The "Ruler" function in Google Earth shows that it is 92m from the edge of the runway.
Rockhampton Airport (1939)
The BoM pleasant "rural view":

The Google Earth view.

Again, sandwiched in between the airport runway and the encroaching town of Rockhampton.
Canberra Airport (1939)
The BoM view - looks like something out of the movie "Casablanca" with the igloo building:

The Google Earth "reality view":
Shock! Horror! Not only is it adjacent to a runway, but it's nearly sitting on top of a carpark which is a mere 10m away.
Hobart Airport (1958)
The BoM view - could there be a more splendid site anywhere in the world?

Uh oh! You mean it's next to the runway AND the parking apron?
So far we have looked at 12 of the 103 RCS stations, and we see a consistent pattern. All of them are located at sites that are covered by huge expanses of black concrete and visited by very large heat-belching equipment. In a number of them, we can see that large cities and towns encroach on the area - in spite of the BoM mandate to select locations "in an area away from large urban centres". In all of the sites looked at so far, the "official" photos seek to hide or disguise these basic facts.

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