Technical questions

What are zipped data files and what do they contain?

A compressed or zipped file (ZIP file) is a file containing one or more other files which have been combined and processed to reduce their overall size. This makes for more efficient delivery of the data via email or the web. Once the files are uncompressed (or expanded), the content will be the same as the original.

Climate data files for Bureau stations requested from Climate & Oceans Data and Analysis Services contain the following files:

Station data files available via Climate Data Online and the Weather Station Directory have the 'Notes' and 'StnDet' content combined into one 'Note' file.

How do I unzip data files?

If you are unable to see what the ZIP file contains you may need to install software to handle compressed files. A web search engine will be able to help you locate free or commercial ZIP utilities.

How can I import .txt files into Microsoft Excel?
What does 'gridded data' mean?

Gridded or raster data is a spatial data format that consists of a matrix of cells, or pixels, organised into rows and columns where each cell contains a value for each grid point across a two dimensional surface. Gridded data covers an area, whereas station data you may obtain for a particular Bureau station applies only to a single geographic location.

The datasets are available in ARC ASCII format and can be ported into a GIS or similar spatial data visualisation tool. They are not suitable for use in Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet programs. You can download a sample file containing gridded daily rainfall totals for Australia.

What is the ARC ASCII gridded data format?

The ARC ASCII gridded data format is a non-proprietary ASCII format that can be directly used in ESRI GIS software packages. The format consists of six lines of header information followed by the actual gridded data values. The header information shows the dimensions of the data, the geographic domain, cell resolution and the code for the 'nodata' value. Data are written row-wise, so that the first data record in a block contains values for the northernmost grid-cells moving from west to east. The last data record in a block contains values for the southernmost grid-cells moving from west to east.

What is a NetCDF file?

The Network Common Data Form (netCDF) was developed by UNIDATA and is an open standard self-describing, machine-independent data format that supports the creation, access, and sharing of array-oriented scientific datasets. It is commonly used in climatology, meteorology and oceanography and GIS applications. A netCDF file contains all of the metadata needed to extract and understand the data in the file.
Detailed information and tools for using and viewing netCDF files can be found at :

How can I open PDF documents?

If you do not already have a PDF reader application, you will need to download one, for example Adobe Reader, to read .pdf documents.