This web site provides an overview of AUSWAVE forecast data, made available by the Bureau of Meteorology. The AUSWAVE wave model source code was upgraded from the third-generation wind-wave modelling framework WAVEWATCH III® (WW3) version 3.14 to version 4.18 in early 2016. This included the use of a new physical spectral source term package. Operational runs were performed using surface wind data from the Australian Community Climate and Earth-System Simulator (ACCESS). This model was developed and tested by staff in Bureau National Operations Centre and Research and Development. For more details about this upgrade see the Bureau National Operations Centre Operations Bulletin 106.

The global AUSWAVE-G wave system was upgraded to the new version on 26 May 2020 to incorporate the surface winds from the "Australian Parallel Suite 3" (APS3) ACCESS-G, rather than the previous APS2 version. In addition, the regional AUSWAVE-R wave model was upgraded to use the surface winds from ACCESS-G3 rather than ACCESS-R2.

Available AUSWAVE-based models

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

Model Domain Resolution
AUSWAVE-G Global (78°S-78°N, 0°E-359°E) 0.25°
AUSWAVE-R Regional (60°S-12°N, 69°E-180°E) 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 0000,0060,1200,1800 0/to/72/by/1
IDY35105 series AUSWAVE-R Australian domains 0000,0060,1200,1800 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

  • 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.