Bureau of Meteorology Site Numbers

Each site in the Bureau of Meteorology national climate archive is assigned a site number. This is the primary means of identification in the archive. The numbering system is based on the system of rainfall districts which covers only mainland Australia, the island State of Tasmania and the two Bass Strait islands of King and Flinders Is. Sites outside these geographical areas are classified as either "Islands" (both in the Pacific and in the Indian Oceans, and including the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Island sites), or as "Antarctic" sites which are mostly on the Antarctic continent but also include islands such as Heard Island and Macquarie Island. These sites have numbers which label them as outside the district system.

Site Number

Each site has a unique number, although numbers have occasionally been changed, for example when a rainfall district boundary has been changed). The site numbering system is not related to the international system used by the world meteorological community (the station "WMO Number"), in which for example Darwin Airport is (at present) 94120. Under this system Australia is only assigned several hundred site numbers, whereas we hold data for about 20 000 sites in our archive.


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The site number consists (at present) of 6 digits. The first 3 numbers gives a rough indication of who is responsible for the site and indicates the district or other area in which it is located. There are 99 numbered rainfall districts, some of which have been split into smaller segments. All districts are located within continental Australia, Tasmania and the two Bass Strait islands King and Flinders Is. The districts are linked to the Australian State where the site is located. Sites outside these geographical areas have either 2 or 3 as the first digit of their site number. Sites run by another organisation, which are listed in the Bureau's catalogue of sites are given a number beginning with 5. The archive holds data for very few of these external sites.
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Rainfall districts
link to rainfall district map
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For example Darwin Airport (014015):
  • is owned or run by the Bureau, and is located either in mainland Australia or in Tasmania, King or Flinders Islands (the first digit of the site number is not 2, 3 or 5)
  • is in district 14 which is in the Northern Territory.
The leading zero or zeros are often omitted in use; thus Bureau site 051002 in district 51 may be referred to as 51002. A non-Bureau site in district 51 would be 551002. Another example is Cocos Island (200284) in the Indian Ocean. This site is located outside the rainfall district system and is classified as an "Island" site (the first digits are 200).
The following table lists the various districts, the sites contained within them, applicable time zones and the relevant administrative region (State) or organisation
State, area or ownership Abbreviation Local Standard Time Zone Districts Site numbers
Western Australia WA WST
0900 = 0100Z
1 - 13 001000 - 013999
Northern Territory NT CST
0900 = 2330Z
14 - 15 014000 - 015999
South Australia SA CST 16 - 26 016000 - 026999
Queensland QLD EST
0900 = 2300Z
27 - 45 027000 - 045999
New South Wales (including the Australian Capital Territory) NSW (ACT) EST 46 - 75 046000 - 075999
Victoria VIC EST 76 - 90 076000 - 090999
Tasmania TAS EST 91 - 99 091000 - 099999
Islands ISL -- 200 200000 - 200999
Antarctica ANT -- 300 300000 - 300999
Non Bureau sites -- -- 501 - 599 501000 - 599999
The rainfall districts have been defined, with very few changes, since the early 1930's. They have no relationship with, for example, census districts, postal districts, water catchments or shire boundaries. They also differ from the Bureau forecast districts, which serve a different purpose and which can change with time to suit for example differing population levels, or service requirements.
Last modified 21 May 2001