This web site provides an overview of AUSWAVE forecast data, made available by the Bureau of Meteorology. The AUSWAVE model is based on version 3.14 of WAVEWATCH III. Operational runs are performed using surface wind data from the Australian Community Climate and Earth-System Simulator (ACCESS). This model has been developed and tested by research staff from the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CAWCR) and formally replaced the global WAM, Australian Region WAM, and Australian Mesoscale WAM models on Thursday 19 August 2010. For more details about the AUSWAVE forecasting systems see the National Meteorological & Oceanographic Centre (NMOC) Operations Bulletin 84.

The global AUSWAVE-G wave system was then upgraded to the new version on 25 July 2012. This upgrade uses "Australian Parallel Suite 1" (APS1) ACCESS-G surface winds, rather than the previous APS0 version, and increases the wave model spatial resolution from the existing 1 degree to 0.4 degree, to match improvements in the resolution of the atmospheric forcing. For more details about this upgrade see the National National Meteorological & Oceanographic Centre (NMOC) Operations Bulletin 92.

The regional AUSWAVE-R wave system was upgraded to the new version on 17 April 2013. This upgrade uses APS1 ACCESS-R surface winds, rather than the previous APS0 version, and increases the wave model spatial resolution from the existing 0.5 degree to 0.1 degree. APS0 AUSWAVE-A system was terminated on 1 May 2013. For more details about this upgrade see the National National Meteorological & Oceanographic Centre (NMOC) Operations Bulletin 97.

Available AUSWAVE-based models

The following table describes the current AUSWAVE model domain and resolution.

Model Domain Resolution
AUSWAVE-G Global (78S-78N, 0E-359E) 0.4
AUSWAVE-R Regional (60S-12N, 69E-180E) 0.1

AUSWAVE forecast products

A range of AUSWAVE forecast products, available via FTP for registered users, have been made available in NetCDF format. For each output forecast-hour the AUSWAVE models output various mean wave parameters defined on two-dimensional grids. The grid structure is evenly spaced latitude/longitude. As such the NetCDF file products contain a range of gridded field values valid for a particular model timestep. All product files conform to the following naming convention:

File-name key

IDYnnnnn:grid file ID code (defines the model and the domain)
version:version ID code (APS0 or APS1)
base-time:model run’s UTC base time in the format YYYYMMDDHH, where YYYY = year, MM = month, DD = day, HH = hour (e.g. 2010122500)
forecast-hour:product’s validity time (model timestep) as hours after base-time in the format HHH (e.g. 000, 048, 240), all = all timesteps or 06h = 6 hourly timesteps or 03h = 3 hourly timesteps or 01h = 1 hourly timesteps.

Grid File ID Codes

Product Code Interpretation Run Times Steps
IDY35000 series AUSWAVE-G domains 0000, 1200 0/to/168/by/3
IDY35005 series AUSWAVE-G Australian domains 0000, 1200 0/to/168/by/3
IDY35100 series AUSWAVE-R domains 0000, 1200 0/to/72/by/1

Sample AUSWAVE forecast data

Links are provided below to sample registered product files. They are popular subsets of the AUSWAVE models outputs listed in the above table.

Grid Sample Data
AUSWAVE-G netcdf
AUSWAVE-R netcdf

GRIB tables

The GRIB-2 sample data contains header data referenced against the Bureau's local GRIB tables. These tables are available for download below.

Table 142

Note: These are UNIX formatted text-files and thus notepad in Windows will not read these files correctly. Please use wordpad or another text editor if using Windows. The formatting is fixed width with a header line to label the columns.

Additonal Model Fields

The current set of AUSWAVE forecast products deliberately excludes a number of variables due to lack of interest from the RFCs. Also the forecast products are less frequent than the raw model outputs. If there is demand for some of these fields and products for all forecast timesteps they may potentially be made available for all the AUSWAVE model domains. Please make enquiries via NMOC's Oceanographic Systems section

Parameter NetCDF var Steps Units Description
217 mn_wav_per All sec Mean wave period
218 mn_wav_dir All Degrees Mean wave direction
219 fric_vel All m/s Friction velocity

Answers to frequently asked questions about AUSWAVE forecast data

  • Wind direction is reported in standard meteorological convention, i.e. the direction the wind is coming from in degrees clockwise from True North.
  • Wave direction is reported in standard oceanographic convention, i.e. the direction the waves are travelling to in radians clockwise from True North.
  • The aim of spectral partitioning is the separate the wave spectrum onto spectral components, that is components that represent distinct wave systems, such as wind sea and swell. The partitioning scheme within AUSWAVE is capable of separting the wave spectrum into a single wind sea component and multiple swell components. If no identified partition meets a threshold wind sea fraction at a given grid point, no wind sea will be present at that grid point. Likewise, if all the energy is assigned to wind sea, there will be no energy as swell. These 'holes' in the grid are consistent with the physical processes being described by the partitioning, they do not represent missing values.

Getting help and providing feedback

An overview of the scientific and technical details of the ACCESS models can be found in Operations Bulletin 84. If you have a query about any information presented here or require further information or assistance about ACCESS NWP products please contact the Bureau's Registered User Services section.