Bureau of Meteorology

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Bureau of Meteorology
Agency overview
Formed1 January 1908;111 years ago (1908-01-01)
Jurisdiction Government of Australia
Headquarters Melbourne
Employees1,663 (at 31 May 2015)
Annual budget A$279.3 million (2015–16)
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Dr Andrew Johnson, Director of Meteorology
Parent agency Department of the Environment and Energy
Website www.bom.gov.au

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is an Executive Agency of the Australian Government responsible for providing weather services to Australia and surrounding areas. It was established in 1906 under the Meteorology Act, and brought together the state meteorological services that existed before then. [1] The states officially transferred their weather recording responsibilities to the Bureau of Meteorology on 1 January 1908. [2] [3]

Government of Australia federal democratic administrative authority of Australia

The Government of Australia is the government of the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It is also commonly referred to as the Australian Government, the Commonwealth Government, Her Majesty's Government, or the Federal Government.

States and territories of Australia first-level subdivision of Australia

The states and territories are the first-level administrative divisions of the Commonwealth of Australia. They are the second level of government in Australia, located between the federal and local government tiers.


Services and structure

Berrimah radar Berrimah-radar-darwin-nt.jpg
Berrimah radar

The Bureau of Meteorology is the main provider of weather forecasts, warnings and observations to the Australian public. The Bureau distributes weather images via radiofax and is responsible for issuing flood alerts in Australia.

Radiofax analogue mode for transmitting monochrome images

Radiofax, also known as weatherfax and HF fax, is an analogue mode for transmitting monochrome images. It was the predecessor to slow-scan television (SSTV). Prior to the advent of the commercial telephone line "fax" machine, it was known, more traditionally, by the term "radiofacsimile". The cover of the regular NOAA publication on frequencies and schedules states "Worldwide Marine Radiofacsimile Broadcast Schedules".

The Bureau's head office is in Melbourne Docklands, which includes the Bureau's Research Centre, the Bureau National Operations Centre, the National Climate Centre, the Victorian Regional Forecasting Centre as well as the Hydrology and Satellite sections. [4]

Regional offices are located in each state and territory capital. Each regional office includes a Regional Forecasting Centre and a Flood Warning Centre, and the Perth, Darwin and Brisbane offices also house Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres. The Adelaide office incorporates the National Tidal Centre, while the Darwin office the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (Analysis).

Darwin, Northern Territory City in the Northern Territory, Australia

Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory of Australia, situated on the Timor Sea. It is the largest city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, with a population of 145,916. It is the smallest, wettest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities, and acts as the Top End's regional centre.

Brisbane capital city of Queensland, Australia

Brisbane is the capital of and the most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of 2.5 million, and the South East Queensland region, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3.5 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the historic European settlement and is situated inside a peninsula of the Brisbane River, about 15 kilometres from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River Valley between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range, sprawling across several of Australia's most populous local government areas (LGAs)—most centrally the City of Brisbane, which is by far the most populous LGA in the nation. The demonym of Brisbane is "Brisbanite".

Adelaide City in South Australia

Adelaide is the capital city of the state of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. In June 2017, Adelaide had an estimated resident population of 1,333,927. Adelaide is home to more than 75 percent of the South Australian population, making it the most centralised population of any state in Australia.

Darwin Airport office Darwin Airport Met Office.jpg
Darwin Airport office

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issues Tropical Cyclone Advices [5] and developed the Standard Emergency Warning Signal used for warnings. The Bureau is responsible for tropical cyclone naming for storms in waters surrounding Australia. Three lists of names used to be maintained, one for each of the western, northern and eastern Australian regions. [6] However, as of the start of the 2008–09 Tropical Cyclone Year these lists have been rolled into one main national list of tropical cyclone names. [6]

Tropical cyclone Is a rotating storm system

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".

The Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) is a warning siren used in Australia to alert the public of danger. The siren is played over radio, television or public address systems in public places to warn of bushfire, flood, cyclone, tsunami, earthquake or terrorist attack.

Tropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones are named by various warning centers to provide ease of communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches, and warnings. The names are intended to reduce confusion in the event of concurrent storms in the same basin. Generally once storms produce sustained wind speeds of more than 33 knots, names are assigned in order from predetermined lists depending on which basin they originate. However, standards vary from basin to basin: some tropical depressions are named in the Western Pacific, while tropical cyclones must have a significant amount of gale-force winds occurring around the centre before they are named in the Southern Hemisphere.

The regional offices are supported by the Bureau National Operations Centre (BNOC) which is also located at the head office in Melbourne Docklands.

The Bureau maintains a network of field offices across the continent, on neighbouring islands and in Antarctica. There is also a network of some 500 paid co-operative observers and approximately 6,000 voluntary rainfall observers.


The following people have been directors of the Bureau of Meteorology:

Henry Ambrose Hunt 1908–31
William S Watt 1931–40
H. Norman Warren 1940–50
Edward W Timcke 1950–55
Leonard J Dwyer 1955–62
William J Gibbs 1962–78
John Zillman 1978–2003
Geoff Love2003–08
Neville Smith (Acting Director)2008–09
Greg Ayers 2009–12 [7]
Rob Vertessy2012–16 [8]
Andrew Johnson6 September 2016–Present [9]


In the head office a Cray XC40 supercomputer called "Australis" provides the operational computing capability for weather, climate, ocean and wave numerical prediction and simulation, while other Unix servers support the computer message switching system and real-time data base. The Australian Integrated Forecast System affords the main computing infrastructure in the regional offices. Numerical weather prediction is performed using the Unified Model software. The Bureau of Meteorology announced the Cray contract [10] in July 2015, commissioned the Cray XC40 supercomputer [11] on 30 June 2016 and decommissioned their Oracle HPC system in October 2016.

See also

Related Research Articles

National Hurricane Center division of the United States National Weather Service

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is the division of the United States' National Weather Service responsible for tracking and predicting tropical weather systems between the Prime Meridian and the 140th meridian west poleward to the 30th parallel north in the northeast Pacific Ocean and the 31st parallel north in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The agency, which is co-located with the Miami branch of the National Weather Service, is situated on the campus of Florida International University in University Park, Florida.

National Weather Service United States weather agency

The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the Washington metropolitan area. The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 until it adopted its current name in 1970.

Tropical cyclone warnings and watches are two levels of alert issued by national weather forecasting bodies to coastal areas threatened by the imminent approach of a tropical cyclone of tropical storm or hurricane intensity. They are notices to the local population and civil authorities to make appropriate preparation for the cyclone, including evacuation of vulnerable areas where necessary. It is important that interests throughout the area of an alert make preparations to protect life and property, and do not disregard it on the strength of the detailed forecast track. Tropical cyclones are not points, and forecasting their track remains an uncertain science.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is a joint United States Navy – United States Air Force command located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The JTWC is responsible for the issuing of tropical cyclone warnings in the North-West Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean for all branches of the U.S. Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies. Their warnings are intended for the protection of primarily military ships and aircraft as well as military installations jointly operated with other countries around the world.

Weather Prediction Center United States weather agency

The Weather Prediction Center (WPC), located in College Park, Maryland, is one of nine service centers under the umbrella of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), a part of the National Weather Service (NWS), which in turn is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. government. Until March 5, 2013 the Weather Prediction Center was known as the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC). The Weather Prediction Center serves as a center for quantitative precipitation forecasting, medium range forecasting, and the interpretation of numerical weather prediction computer models.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD), also referred to as the Met Department, is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology. IMD is headquartered in Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.Regional offices are at Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur and Pune.

Fiji Meteorological Service meteorological service of Fiji

The Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) is a Department of the government of Fiji responsible for providing weather forecasts and is based in Nadi. The current director of Fiji Meteorological Service is Ravind Kumar. Since 1985, FMS has been responsible for naming and tracking tropical cyclones in the Southwest Pacific region. Current Meteorologists working at FMS have a Graduate Diploma in Meteorology from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

A Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre is responsible for the distribution of information, advisories, and warnings regarding the specific program they have a part of, agreed by consensus at the World Meteorological Organization as part of the World Weather Watch.

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Cyclone Glenda Category 5 Australian region cyclone in 2006

Severe Tropical Cyclone Glenda of March 2006 was among the strongest tropical cyclones to threaten Western Australia, though it weakened considerably before landfall and moved ashore in a lightly populated region. It began as a tropical low on 15 March in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The precursor disturbance drifted over Top End and later across the northeastern portion of Western Australia, and after emerging into the Indian Ocean it strengthened into a tropical storm. Aided by favourable environmental conditions, Glenda rapidly intensified to reach Category 5 status on the Australian cyclone scale, and with a peak intensity of 910 mbar it was among the strongest cyclones on record within the Australia region. On 30 March it moved ashore near Onslow as a Category 3 cyclone, and the next day it degenerated into a remnant tropical low over land.

2010–11 Australian region cyclone season cyclone season in the Australian region

The 2010–11 Australian region cyclone season was a near average tropical cyclone season, with eleven tropical cyclones forming compared to an average of 12. The season began on 1 November 2010 and ended on 30 April 2011, although the first tropical cyclone formed on 28 October. The Australian region is defined as being to the south of the equator, between the 90th meridian east and 160th meridian east. Tropical cyclones in this area are monitored by five Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWC's): Jakarta, Port Moresby, Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane, each of which have the power to name a tropical cyclone. The TCWC's in Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane are run by the Bureau of Meteorology, who designate significant tropical lows with a number and the U suffix. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center also issues unofficial warnings for the region, designating significant tropical cyclones with the "S" suffix when they form west of 135°E, and the "P" suffix when they form east of 135°E.

2011–12 Australian region cyclone season cyclone season in the Australian region

The 2011–12 Australian region cyclone season was a below average tropical cyclone season, with 7 cyclones forming rather than the usual 11. It began on 1 November 2011, and ended on 14 May 2012. The regional tropical cyclone operational plan defines a "tropical cyclone year" separately from a "tropical cyclone season"; the "tropical cyclone year" began on 1 July 2011 and ended on 30 June 2012.

2014–15 Australian region cyclone season

The 2014–15 Australian region cyclone season was a slightly below average tropical cyclone season. The season officially ran from 1 November 2014, to 30 April 2015, however, a tropical cyclone could form at any time between 1 July 2014, and 30 June 2015, and would count towards the season total. During the season, tropical cyclones were officially monitored, by one of the five Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) that are operated in this region.

2018–19 Australian region cyclone season

The 2018–19 Australian region cyclone season is the period of the year when most tropical cyclones form in the Southern Indian Ocean and Pacific Oceans between 90°E and 160°E. The season officially began on 1 November 2018 and will run until 30 April 2019, however, a tropical cyclone could form at any time between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019 and would count towards the season total. During the season, tropical cyclones will be officially monitored, by either the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), the National Weather Service of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby, or the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics in Jakarta, Indonesia. The United States Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and other national meteorological services such as MetService, Météo-France and the Fiji Meteorological Service also monitored parts of the basin during the season.

Cyclone Alessia

Tropical Cyclone Alessia was the first tropical cyclone to affect the Northern Territory of Australia in November since Cyclone Joan in 1975. The storm was first identified as a tropical low on 20 November 2013 well to the northwest of Australia. Tracking generally west to west-southwest, the small system steadily organized into a tropical cyclone by 22 November. Maintaining a small central dense overcast, Alessia brushed the Kimberley region before making landfall in the Top End region with winds of 65 km/h (40 mph) on 23 and 24 November respectively. Some weakening took place as the system moved over land; however, reorganization occurred as it neared the Gulf of Carpentaria. After moving over water on 26 November, it redeveloped gale-force winds. Alessia reached its peak intensity on 27 November with winds of 85 km/h (50 mph) and a barometric pressure of 991 mbar and subsequently made its final landfall near Wollogorang. Weakening ensued once more as the storm traveled over land; though, Alessia's remnants looped eastward back over water before doubling back to the west. The system was last noted moving inland again over the Northern Territory on 1 December.

Tuvalu Meteorological Service meteorological service of Tuvalu

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Cray XC40

The Cray XC40 is a massively parallel multiprocessor supercomputer manufactured by Cray. It consists of Intel Haswell Xeon processors, with optional Nvidia Tesla or Intel Xeon Phi accelerators, connected together by Cray's proprietary "Aries" interconnect, stored in air-cooled or liquid-cooled cabinets. The XC series supercomputers are available with the Cray DataWarp applications I/O accelerator technology.

Cyclone Marcia

Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia was a powerful tropical cyclone that made landfall at its peak strength over central Queensland, near Shoalwater Bay on 20 February 2015. The cyclone went on to affect various areas including Yeppoon and Rockhampton. It passed just to the west of Yeppoon as a Category 4 system, then traversed over the regional city of Rockhampton as a Category 2 system on the same day. Eventually, the cyclone weakened, moved southeast out to sea, before dissipating. Marcia caused at least A$750 million (US$590.5 million) worth of damage.

The Cray XC50 is a massively parallel multiprocessor supercomputer manufactured by Cray. The machine can support Intel Xeon processors, as well as Cavium ThunderX2 processors, Xeon Phi processors and NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs. The processor are connected by Cray's proprietary "Aries" interconnect, in a dragonfly network topology. The XC50 is an evolution of the XC40, with the main difference being the support of Tesla P100 processors.


  1. "Meteorology in the 20th Century". Federation and Meteorology. University of Melbourne: Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre. August 2001. p. 1600. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  2. "BOM celebrates 100 years". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
  3. "Collections in Perth: 20. Meteorology". National Archives of Australia. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  4. "Bureau of Meteorology Head Office 700 Collins Street". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  5. Tropical Cyclone Advices, Bureau of Meteorology, 2009
  6. 1 2 "Tropical Cyclone Names". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  7. "Government thanks outgoing Bureau of Meteorology director, Dr Greg Ayers". Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. 20 February 2012. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  8. "'Perilous': Bureau of Meteorology boss Rob Vertessy exits with climate warning". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 April 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  9. "Dr Andrew Johnson appointed as Director of Meteorology". Bureau of Meteorology. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  10. "New Supercomputer to supercharge weather warnings and forecasts". Bureau of Meteorology. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  11. "New Bureau supercomputer successfully commissioned". Bureau of Meteorology. 19 November 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2017.