UBD Applied Physics Students Visit Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department, Ministry of Communications

Article and photos by: Aldrin Jalong Baring Anak Melayu & Zarifi Masri

A group of 15 Final Year Applied Physics students made an educational visit to the Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department (BDMD) on 6th April as part of their SP-4302 Environmental Physics module. The group was led by Dr. Zarifi Masri, the module coordinator, and accompanied by Dk Hjh Siti Norazimah binti Pg Haji Duraman, a lecturer in Applied Physics, as well as Mohd. Nur Naqiuddin bin Haji Osman, a Laboratory Assistant in Applied Physics.

Present at hand to welcome the group at the Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Observation Station at Brunei International Airport was Shahalmie bin Haji Emran who is the Head of General Administration and Finance at BDMD and a graduate of UBD’s Applied Physics Programme (2005 intake) and Dayang Ajijah binti Haji Sulaiman who is a Senior Meteorological Observer (Level 1).

The group was then given a brief tour of the facility and a demonstration of the diferent meteorological instruments used in weather monitoring and recording such as theodolite, barometer, sunshine recorder, wind vane, anemometer, dry and wet bulb thermometer, evaporimeter, hygrometer and various types of rain gauges.

The group was also shown a radiosonde, a battery-powered instrument for upper-air observation that is carried by a weather balloon filled with hydrogen gas to measure daily various atmospheric parameters at different altitudes which is then transmitted by radio to the ground receiver.

Dayang Ajijah binti Haji Sulaiman (L) demonstrating a rain gauge, at the Meteorological Observation Station.

This was then followed by a brief tour of the BDMD Forecast Centre, where all the meteorological data is compiled and processed, led by Dayang Nurulinani binti Haji Jahari, Meteorological Officer at BDMD and Dayang Chong Kim Lian, Meteorological Supervisor at BDMD and. The BDMD Officers explained their roles in producing daily weather forecasts for the whole of Brunei Darussalam using, amongst others, a combination of numerical weather models and synoptic weather charts.

These weather forecasts are critical for a lot of activities and especially so for fishermen and seafarers. BDMD also service the aviation industry and they operate a Low Level Wind Shear Alert System (LLWAS) in order to warn approaching and departing aircraft of any hazardous wind shear or microbursts, the group was told. The group was informed that the Forecast Centre operates 24 hours and is always manned by at least one Meteorological Officer who is also on hand to answer calls from the public regarding weather forecasts and updates. BDMD is also responsible for sending out advisories and alerts for any active or strong weather events in Brunei based on their weather forecasting and prediction.

Dayang Ajijah binti Haji Sulaiman (L) explaining the use of the meteorological theodolite., which is used for tracking the horizontal and vertical angles of weather balloons.

Group members making upper-air observation.

The Meteorological Officer (R), explaining their daily work as a meteorologist to the visitors.

Numerical weather prediction models (L) and manually-drawn synoptic weather charts (R) are used to make weather forecasts.

The visit concluded with some refreshments and gifts being distributed by BDMD and a group photo session. On the whole, the students found the visit was an enlightening and eye-opening one and it gave exclusive insight into the daily life of BDMD. The visit was made the more memorable by the warm reception of the BDMD staff to which the group was very appreciative of.

Distribution of gift bags by the BDMD staff to the visitors

Group photo at the BDMD Forecast Centre with Dayang Chong Kim Lian, Meteorological Supervisor (L, standing), Dayang Nurulinani Binti Haji Jahari, Meteorological Officer (seated left) and Shahalmie bin Haji Emran, Head of General Administration and Finance at BDMD (seated right).