Bureau of Meteorology Site Numbers

Introduction

Each site in the Bureau of Meteorology's national climate archive has been assigned a site number (also known as a "station number"), which is its primary means of identification. The numbering system was originally established 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 Islands. In addition to sites within these geographical areas there are also offshore islands and 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. Additional groupings have also been established, including marine sites, and sites (often hydrological in purpose) managed by external agencies.

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Construction of the Site Number

Each site has a unique 6 digit number - XYYnnn - and although numbers have occasionally been changed they are not normally reallocated over time. A rough breakdown of the system is as follows:

  1. X – defines the station series (0-5; related to station application)
    • 0 & 1 – land-based, Bureau-managed stations;
    • 2 - official Bureau fixed off-shore sites or Island locations, and also special applications;
    • 3 - Antarctic & Sub-Antarctic land based or off-shore stations;
    • 4 - marine sites (eg. ships and buoys);
    • 5 - externally managed fixed sites.
  2. YY – station series sub-group
    • Land-based stations (series 0 & 1) = 01 to 99 (the rainfall districts);
    • Off-shore islands (series 2) = 00 to 49;
    • Special applications (series 2) = 50 to 99;
    • Antarctic & Sub-Antarctic stations (series 3) = 00 to 99;
    • Marine sites (series 4) = 00 to 99;
    • Externally managed sites (series 5) = 01 to 99 (the rainfall districts);
  3. nnn – sequential count within the above groupings (0–999).

The first 3 numbers give a rough indication of the type of site, who is responsible for the site, and for land-based sites, the district or other area in which it is located. Land-based, Bureau-managed sites are linked to the Australian State where the site is located via the rainfall district. Table One below provides more information. 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 a 0);
  • Is in rainfall district 14, which is in the Northern Territory.

As a further example, Cocos Island is in the Indian Ocean, and has the station number 200284. This site is located outside the rainfall district system and is classified as an "Island" site (the first 3 digits are 200).

Sites run by other organisations which provide data to the Bureau, and sites within the Hydrological Services Program, are given a number beginning with 5. Data from these sites are not currently included within Climate Data Online.

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The Bureau's site numbering system is not directly related to the station "WMO number", which forms part of the international numbering system used by the world meteorological community. Under this international system Australia is assigned less than one thousand site numbers, whereas we hold data for about 20,000 sites in the climate archive. Unlike the Bureau of Meteorology site numbering system, the WMO number may be reallocated to another location. For example, this may occur if a site ceases to undertake synoptic weather observations which it previously distributed around the world to assist with forecasting the weather.

Allocation of Bureau station numbers

The following table lists the various rainfall district groupings, the sites contained within them, applicable time zones and the relevant administrative region (State) or organization. Current practice is to allocate station numbers sequentially within the district as new sites are created. Consequently, the last three digits of the station number have no relationship with the proximity of one site to another within the district, although this may happen by chance (or when a group of associated sites are established).

Table One. Allocation of Bureau station numbers by administrative region
State, area or ownership Local Standard
Time Zone
Districts Site numbers
Western Australia WST
0900 = 0100 UTC
1 - 13 001000 - 013999
101000 - 113999
Northern Territory CST
0900 = 2330 UTC
14 - 15 014000 - 015999
114000 - 115999
South Australia CST 16 - 26 016000 - 026999
116000 - 126999
Queensland EST
0900 = 2300 UTC
27 - 45 027000 - 045999
127000 - 145999
New South Wales (including
the Australian Capital Territory)
EST 46 - 75 046000 - 075999
146000 - 175999
Victoria EST 76 - 90 076000 - 090999
176000 - 190999
Tasmania EST 91 - 99 091000 - 099999
191000 - 199999
Islands Various 200 200000 - 249999
Antarctica Various 300 300000 - 399999
Non-Bureau sites Various 501 - 599 501000 - 599999

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Page updated: 5 September 2011