Improving access to national climate data

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) fulfils a critical role for Australia as the country’s national weather, climate and water agency. It is tasked with using its expertise and services to assist Australians to deal with the harsh realities of our natural environment, including extreme events such as droughts, floods, fires, storms and cyclones.

Now, thanks to a close partnership with TERN’s AusCover facility, BOM has been able to enhance its data management capabilities, and implement more streamlined processes for dealing with the daily meteorological data that we all rely on.

Monitoring and understanding our weather, climate and water requires staff to collect and use a diverse array of data from sources including BOM’s thousands of weather stations, and satellite data. Robust and efficient data-management procedures are therefore vital for BOM in all of its work.

By taking advantage of AusCover’s data-management tools, BOM has enhanced its capability to manage and deliver spatially explicit data. The collaboration has enabled BOM to reformat a range of daily meteorological data – including rainfall, minimum and maximum temperatures, humidity, and solar radiation – into the globally recognised netCDF format. One benefit of this format is that detailed metadata can be stored with the raw data, which increases the utility of the data for reuse by researchers.

These data are critical for monitoring and forecasting weather, including extreme events like Australia’s January heatwave, and they also have applications elsewhere.

Dr Ian Grant is in BOM’s Data Quality and Improvement Section.

‘We recognised that these data could be useful for a range of ecosystem science applications. This was part of the reason that we wanted to work with TERN, to ensure the data could be made accessible for the benefit of the Australian ecosystem science community,’ he says.

The data – including historical records and ongoing daily updates – can be accessed via the AusCover data portal, along with other meteorological datasets.

For more information you can also view Dr Ian Grant’s presentation about this work at the 2013 TERN Symposium.

For more information on AusCover’s data products, please email Mr Matt Paget.



Published in TERN e-Newsletter May 2013

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