The Bureau of Meteorology is implementing a new forecasting system aimed at expanding services to the Queensland public. The system allows the Bureau's forecasters to develop 7-day forecasts graphically by "painting" the forecasts on their screen. Forecasters then save the information into a database which provides detail of the weather every 6km in a grid across the state.
The information stored in this database is then used to automatically generate text forecasts enabling the Bureau to produce 7-day forecasts for many more locations than before.
Unlike automated systems, the new system allows forecasters to input their local knowledge and thereby provide the best possible forecast for the community.
Forecasts produced by the new system will provide more detailed weather information including an expanded description of sunshine, cloud cover and rainfall, more detail about expected wind conditions, and greater clarity of expected temperatures.
Some forecasts will also be presented in a new format that combines text and graphics so they are more easily understood.
Forecast rainfall amounts and chance of rainfall for Brisbane Metro will be included on the Brisbane Metropolitan Day 1 forecast. In most situations this will relate to conditions across the larger metropolitan area.
Because of the extra details included in the forecasts, some forecasts will not fit on a single page.
With the launch of the new system the number of forecast locations for QLD increases to 67. However, instead of just Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Ipswich receiving a 7-day forecast all 67 locations will receive a 7 day forecast.
The list of official forecast locations will be reviewed next year and will likely be increased as the system matures. The additional locations will be selected based on population, geographical spread to provide a more equitable service across the state.
During 2014, we will provide graphical forecast maps on a new web viewer called MetEye. This map interface will allow you to find, display and zoom into your location and show you the weather details for any 6 x 6 kilometre square in Queensland.
All forecasts will be issued twice a day - at around 5am and just after 4pm. The Bureau's forecasters will also issue updates if conditions change. See the list of forecast issue times.
A forecast of rainfall amount, expressed as a range, is issued for the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast Metro areas for the current days and the following day.
The forecast represents the likely rainfall range for the forecast period. Sometimes rain falls in a patchy pattern across an area with some locations receiving a heavy shower while an area nearby might miss out completely. On these days the rainfall range may be quite large, e.g. 5 to 30 mm. When steady rainfall is expected over a wide area, the range may be smaller, e.g. 10 to 15mm.
The locations that receive this information will be reviewed in 2014
The Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast Metro service also provides a "Chance of any rain" forecast. This describes the likelihood of receiving a measurable amount of rain (>0.2mm) during the day. For example, if the chance of rain for Brisbane metro is 70%, it means that on 7 out of 10 days with similar weather conditions rainfall will be measured in the Brisbane City rain gauge.
The following graphic shows that while there may be a 30% chance of rainfall, there is also a 70% chance of not receiving any rainfall at all.
The town forecasts are specific to a small area, whereas the district forecast paints a picture of the weather conditions over a large area. If rainfall is only forecast for a small part of a district it would not be mentioned as it might suggest that the entire district would receive rain when that is not the case.
The state-wide wind forecast maps are automatically produced from computer models and may not always be the same as official forecasts which contain input from a professional forecaster. These differences will be seen most often when there are weather fronts, east coast lows or in rapidly changing conditions. You should always check the official forecasts and warnings as well as the maps. During 2014 official wind and wave forecast maps will become available through MetEye.
Wind warnings are now issued as part of the Coastal Waters Forecast, with wind warnings for today and tomorrow, rather than a rolling 24 hour period as it was previously. Wind warning labels will be added alongside the forecast for today and tomorrow to clearly indicate if warnings have been issued for that day.
A separate product called 'Wind warning summary for Queensland' will list the zones with warnings for today and tomorrow, grouped by each warning category. To see the detail of the conditions you will need to go direct to the appropriate Coastal Waters Forecast.
For more information please see the Wind Warning Changes.
There are now 14 Coastal Waters Zones; SE Gulf of Capentaria, NE Gulf of Carpentaria, Torres Strait, Peninsula Coast, Cooktown Coast, Cairns Coast, Townsville Coast, Mackay Coast, Capricornia Coast, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island Coast, Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast.
These smaller zones allow more detailed forecasts to be written and each coastal zone forecast will have an improved layout for easier reading. You will also be able to select the forecast you need through an interactive map.
Map of Queensland Coastal Waters Zones