About the Interactive Map Viewer

The Interactive Weather and Wave Forecast Map Viewer displays images of computer-generated forecast data for the next seven days.

See the Glossary for terms used in the viewer.

Data source

The maps use the Bureau's ACCESS model (for atmospheric elements) and AUSWAVE model (for ocean wave elements). The model used in a map depends upon the element, time period, and area selected.

All maps are produced from computer models and do not contain input from weather forecasters. These maps are used by forecasters to develop the official forecast maps in MetEye.

Map options

The Map Viewer allows you to select your preferred element, geographic area, time period (out to 7 days) and timezone. Additionally, some atmospheric elements (such as wind speed and direction) require a choice of level in the atmosphere.
  • Elements: Atmospheric elements include surface winds, temperature, and mean sea level pressure (MSLP) and thickness. Ocean wave elements include total wave height, primary and secondary swell, and wave period.
  • Areas: The element selected will determine which geographic areas are available. Capital city local waters areas are available for the surface wind element only. The Map Viewer includes areas outside Australian waters for international meteorological collaboration.
  • Time periods: The period and time-step interval available depends on the model used. All areas have a 7-day (6-hourly interval) option. Some international areas do not have a 3-day (3-hourly interval) option as they are not covered by the Australian model.
  • Timezones: Six timezones are available. Times listed under each day will reflect the chosen timezone, however the time shown on the map heading will always be time-stamped in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
After selecting your preferred options, click the 'Refresh View' button to generate a map. View the current map or use the play button to animate the maps.

The maps are displayed in time order, with the first map being for the model's base or analysis time (the time of the weather observations which form the starting point for the model's predictions) followed by maps at each time-step.

You can bookmark the generated map in your web browser. This will allow you to access your preferred map settings next time you return. Note that only settings will save, not the map itself.


How often are the models run?

Generally the models are run twice daily, with their initial analyses being at 00UTC and 12UTC, however, the maps may be updated at other times. As a result, a given time-step (for instance, the fourth time-step in the series) could fall at a different time of day depending on the base time for the most recent model run.

What is the resolution and coverage of the models?

ACCESS-G and AUSWAVE-G cover the entire globe with a resolution of approximately 25 km. ACCESS-R and AUSWAVE-R cover the wider Australian region and neighbouring countries. ACCESS-R has a resolution of approximately 12 km, and AUSWAVE-R approximately 11 km. For more detailed information, please refer to About the ACCESS model or About the AUSWAVE model.


Why are there white areas on the swell and wind wave maps?

White areas on the swell maps and wind wave maps indicate that information about this area is available from another wave map. Use the Total Wave Height map for a complete picture of wave heights in that area, then check the primary swell, secondary swell and wind wave maps.

How do I interpret wind barbs?

For information about interpreting Wind Barbs see the Bureau Glossary under Wind Barbs: How to interpret wind speed and direction?

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