Gridded climate data


We can provide you with a range of gridded datasets (grids) for Australia.

These datasets can be ported into a geographic information system (GIS) or similar visualization system. You can then use the GIS to investigate the data or generate maps.

Each grid is essentially a two-dimensional array of values (grid cells) which maps on to an area (such as part of or all of Australia). The values (data) associated with each grid-cell represent a meteorological element such as rainfall or temperature.

You can view a full list of the meteorological elements available as grids in web format or as a PDF.

Note: Prior to requesting spatial data, please ensure that the available file formats are compatible with your visualization system/GIS. The Bureau does not provide advice on the use of proprietary software packages.


Information about each of the gridded datasets is provided in a set of metadata files.

These metadata files provide information about the grids. For example, they tell you how the grids were generated, the resolution of the grids and the areal extent of the grids. Copies of the metadata files are available from the gridded meteorological elements page.

Output formats available

The grids are available in a number of formats which are compatible with the more popularly used GIS software. These formats are described below.

Text or ASCII format - a two-dimensional array of text with a self-describing header. You can view a more detailed explanation of the ASCII format (also available as a PDF file) and download a sample of the ASCII format .

Arc/InfoTM grid interchange - the standard grid export format used in the ArcInfoTM / ArcGISTM suite of products. Download a sample of this format here.

Shapefiles - a shapefile stores non-topological geometry and attribute information for the spatial features in a data set. The geometry for a feature is stored as a shape comprising a set of vector coordinates. For more information about shapefiles go to

We provide point and/or polygon shapefiles - you can download a sample of a point shapefile and download a polygon shapefile.

Coordinate system and geographic extent

All grids are in GDA94 (coordinate system). More information about the Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA) is provided at

The gridded data extend over Australia. However we can also provide grids for each State and Territory, or any rectangular area within Australia.

How to get the data

If you wish to obtain the gridded datasets, we will need to know:

  • The type of grid (meteorological element) you require (see table of gridded elements).
  • The period - month or months and/or annual.
  • The area you need - all Australia, a particular State/s or define a decimal degrees latitude/longitude boundary.
  • The output format your require (see information above).
  • Please note that charges will apply.
  • To order any data product, please submit via our feedback page.

Contact us at:

Bureau of Meteorology, National Climate Centre


Phone: (03) 9669 4082, FAX: (03) 9669 4515

Copyright Information

Copyright for any data supplied by the Bureau of Meteorology is held in the Commonwealth of Australia and the purchaser shall give acknowledgement of the source in reference to the data. Please contact us for more information.

Page updated: 24 March 2011