The Bureau of Meteorology Data Catalogue

How to Search The Catalogue

Quick Search Hint

A search of

(All-in-the-record): grid* marine
(Any-in-the-record): forecasts warnings
(Title): "sea surface temperature"

will retrieve any record containing:

  • at least one of the words forecasts or warnings anywhere in the record, and
  • a word starting with grid (e.g. grid or grids or gridded) anywhere in the record, and
  • the word marine anywhere in the record, and
  • the complete phrase sea surface temperature in the Title.

Search Details

The "Advanced" search form offers the following boxes, where terms can be added : All-in-the-record, Any-in-the-record, Title, Abstract, and Keyword. The search form also offers Time (temporal range) and Place (spatial area) searching (see below).

A term is a single word, a word with wildcard (*), or a quoted phrase.

Search boxes


Will search for all catalogue metadata records which contain ALL of the terms entered in this box. Terms can be anywhere in the matched catalogue record.


Will search for all records containing AT LEAST ONE of the terms in this box. For example entering rain precipitation will match any record containing, either rain OR precipitation or both, anywhere in the record. Terms can be anywhere in the matched catalogue record.


Will match all records containing, in the record's Title field, ALL of the terms entered in the Title search box.


As with the Title box, but the entered terms have to be in the record's Abstract field.


Will match all records containing all the entered terms, anywhere in that record's Keyword fields.

Note: Unlike all the other boxes, the Keyword search is case sensitive. For example entering rainfall will find records containing rainfall OR Rainfall OR RAINFALL, in a Keyword field. However, if you know that the term is mixed case in a more complicated way, such as DataParam, you should enter the term using its exact case.

Keyword searches can use 'truncation' (such as rain*), but cannot use 'phrase searching'.

Time Span Searches:

Each catalogue metadata record for a dataset contains the time span of that dataset.

For a time span (Start and End dates) entered in the search form, the search will match all records that have a time span that intersects (overlaps, encloses or is enclosed by) the entered date range.

Example: setting "Start" to 2004-01-01 and "End" to 2006-03-01, will return search results matching any record that has some data within that entered time span.

That is, all the following example datasets timespans would be matched: (1870-01-01 to 2004-02-07), and (2005-02-01 to 2006-01-01), and (1912-01-01 to now) and (2006-01-01 to 2009-01-01). But the following example dataset time ranges would not be matched: (1870-01-01 to 2003-12-31), and (2006-04-01 to 2009-01-01)

For a start date (only) entered in the search form, the search will match all records with some data on or after the entered date.

Place (area) Searches:

Each catalogue metadata record for a dataset contains a Bounding Box (North [latitude], South [latitude], West [longitude] and East [longitude] values). A catalogue record's Bounding Box indicates the spatial area covered by the dataset. Values are in decimal degrees of -180 to 180 (West/East) and 90 to -90 (North/South).

Entering North, South, West and East (N,S,W,E) values into the search form will restrict the search results to any records that have a BoundingBox that intersects (eg overlaps, encloses, is within, or is the same as) the area that has been entered in the search form.

A list of (N,S,W,E) values for common/popular areas is here, a world map showing broad latitude/longitude is here, and for finer lat/longs - this zoomable map of the Australian region shows the latitude and longitude of the mouse/pointer, as it moves (in the bottom right hand side).

Example: region search (for Antarctica): This search will match any record in the catalogue whose data is related (at least in part) to the Antarctic area [NSWE of -60, -90, 110, 180]. After visiting this url, and clicking the Refine Search button, the search form will be populated with these NSWE values.

Freely accessible data only:

This restricts the search to catalogue records for "open" data: that is directly accessible at no charge. The catalogue contains records for data that is available under various conditions, including: subscriptions, with a charge, and freely /directly accessible. See Licencing.


Search terms can be truncated (left, right or both)

Term right truncation storm* - matches storm or storms, but not thunderstorms
Term left truncation *storm - matches storm or thunderstorm, but not storms
Term left & right truncation *storm* - matches storm or thunderstorms or storms or (storm) or -storm
*rain* - matches rainfall or -rain- or /rain or rain. or constraint

Searching For Terms With Punctuation, Etc.

Sometimes, a term in a record isn't matched in a search, because of punctuation, hyphens, or parentheses being next to a term, such as the term "hours", in 24-36 Hours. Truncation can be used to broaden your search results. For instance, a search of *24 matches any record containing /24 or (24 or 24 or 324. Note: this can result in retrieving catalogue records with other terms that you might not want, such as 1234324.

Phrase searching

A search for "wind forecast" in the All in the record box will match any record containing the complete phrase wind forecast (but not wind forecasts). Punctuation can be included in phrase searching.

Note: Phrase searching can be used in all search options (boxes) except the "Keyword" search option. And note also that truncated phrase searching is not currently available.


The search criteria of each box (e.g. terms entered, and logic of the box applied.. eg term1 and term 2 must be in the title fileld) are AND'd with the other boxes. See the "Quick Search Hint" explanation above as an example.

Search results order / number: results are sorted by the metadata record's title [alphabetical sort, a-z]. Records are returned 40 at a time.

Viewing all records in the catalogue, can simply leave the search boxes empty. and press SEARCH, or use the following url

Viewing a record in the search results:

Clicking the title of a record in the search results will open a new window, and display (by default) the "Simple" view of the metadata record. To view the "full" metadata record, click "Full" on the top righthandside menu.

Hiding/Showing the Advanced Search options

The Advanced Search options (which include all boxes except 'All of these terms in the whole record' box) can be displayed or concealed by clicking on the "Hide advanced search options" or "Show advanced search options" link. If the Advanced Search option boxes contain some terms/content, when the user clicks the "Hide advanced search options" link, a message appears saying that the hidden boxes contain content, eg "Plus 5 advanced search options." (when 5 hidden boxes contain terms/content). Clicking the "Clear" link next to that message will clear the content from the hidden boxes

Help / Feedback

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