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 Bureau National Operations Centre 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 Bureau National Operations Centre 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 Bureau National Operations Centre 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 & grib2
AUSWAVE-R netcdf & grib2

Notes on Specific Wave Data File-Formats

Data files are made available in two formats, GRIB2 and NetCDF4. AUSWAVE data follows standard WMO GRIB2 conventions and all the metadata required to identify fields is in the GRIB2 file headers and complies with WMO standard tables which can be found at the first two sections of ACCESS NWP data description. One exception is for the secondary swell fields that use a Bureau local extension to the level type of the first fixed surface (following the practice adopted by NCAR). scaledValueOfFirstFixedSurface is set to 1 for primary swell fields and 2 for secondary swell fields. For technical notes about the NetCDF4 encoding of AUSWAVE data, please refer to NetCDF format notes.

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 to separate the wave spectrum into spectral components to represent distinct wave systems, such as wind sea and swell. The partitioning scheme within AUSWAVE is capable of separating 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 for the swell components. 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 AUSWAVE 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 AUSWAVE products please contact the Bureau's Registered User Services section.