RSS Guide

1. What is RSS?

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an alternative way to receive the latest information released on the Bureau of Meteorology website. RSS can save you time by bringing to your desktop the latest information from your favourite websites, without having to visit each web page individually. When one of the feeds you subscribe to is updated, you will receive an alert on your desktop or mobile device.

2. Why is the Bureau of Meteorology providing RSS feeds?

RSS feeds do not replace other methods of accessing information, such as the web site and radio broadcasts. RSS feeds merely provide another new way to view existing Bureau of Meteorology information alert users when new information has been issued by the Bureau.

Some examples of why the Bureau provides RSS feeds are as follows:

  • Emergency Service organisations rely on warnings issued by the Bureau for their area of interest. They require immediate alerts available on desktops in the operations centre when warnings are issued or updated. At the same time they need alerts and relevant information to be available on mobile devices for operations managers in the field. With this information they can more easily monitor if upcoming events will affect their area and prioritise their response to emergency situations.
  • As soon as Bureau warnings are issued, marine radio announcements broadcast these to vessels to ensure safety at sea. Marine radio operators have previously relied on facsimile communications from the Bureau to alert them to a new warning. Marine radio operators now subscribe marine warnings via RSS and receive an alert on their desktops or mobile devices immediately.

3. How do I use RSS feeds?

RSS content can be read by software called an RSS reader or an aggregator. Once you have an RSS reader either:

  • right-click on the RSS link, copy the URL, and paste it into your favourite reader to display its content, or
  • drag the RSS icon into the address line within the reader.

    Screenshot with arrows pointing out RSS Link and RSS Icon elements.

There are four main methods used to access an RSS feed:

  1. Using an RSS reader installed on your computer

    Use a Desktop software tool (known as a reader or aggregator). Subscribe to a feed by entering the feed's URL link into the reader and choosing "subscribe to this feed". The feed properties should be set to update regularly.

    Screenshot showing an example of a desktop RSS reader.

  2. Using an RSS enabled web browser (e.g. Firefox, Internet Explorer)

    This can be as simple as clicking on one of the RSS icons; however, different browsers handle RSS feeds in different ways. The feed properties should be set to update regularly.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Internet Explorer showing an RSS feed.

    Internet Explorer: after clicking the feed, ensure that you press the "Subscribe to this feed" option.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Internet Explorer's RSS feed page with 'View Feed Properties' highlighted.

    Once you have subscribed to a feed, the option to View feed properties appears.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Internet Explorer's Feed Properties window.

    Feed properties, such as Update Schedule, can be modified as necessary.

  3. Using a mobile phone based reader

    Mobile devices can be used to read RSS feeds by downloading an application designed for viewing such feeds. Some of these are freely available. Once the application is installed on the device, point to the Bureau's RSS feeds as explained above.

    Screenshots of an RSS reader on an iPhone.

Note: To find a free or inexpensive RSS reader search the web for "RSS newsreader". A list is available on Wikipedia - Comparison of feed aggregators.

  1. Using an email manager such as Microsoft Outlook

Email management programs such as Microsoft Outlook can read RSS feeds and deliver them to your inbox.
Navigate to the Bureau’s RSS website (, right click the required RSS link, and select “copy link address”.
In the "Home" tab of Outlook (where you would view your emails), scroll down the left of the screen to the folder named "RSS Feeds".
Right click the folder and select "Add a new RSS feed".
Paste the RSS link in the pop-up window and click “Add”.

MS Outlook RSS feed

A new folder will appear under the RSS Feeds folder. This is where your RSS products will appear.
If you would like these to be sent directly to your inbox, an option is available in Outlook to set up a rule relating specifically to RSS feeds.

4. What will I find on the feed?

The feeds contain the most recent information from the Bureau and links to the appropriate product or page on the Bureau's website. During the initial Beta Testing Period, all warnings which are current at the time will be available.

5. What is the format of the feed?

Screenshot of Microsoft Internet Explorer's RSS feed page.

Each feed contains a description of the information available within.

Each item of the feed contains:

  • a Title, which provides the link to the webpage with the actual information of interest.
  • the Date and Time the information was created or updated.
  • a Bureau of Meteorology logo may also appear on the screen.

6. How do I subscribe to one or more feeds?

Once the feed is visible in the Web Browser, Reader or Mobile device application, a button or link should be visible to permanently subscribe to the feed. Simply follow the steps outlined in item 3 above.

7. How do I know when a feed has been updated?

The feed will have a date and time listed in the headline. With an RSS reader or aggregator, you can set a refresh rate (e.g. hourly, every 15 minutes, daily etc.)

8. How often will the feed update?

The feed will update as soon as the Bureau of Meteorology changes the content of the feed you are subscribed to. For warnings, this could be at any time.

9. I have other questions about RSS?

If you have other questions or wish to provide feedback on the RSS feeds available from the Bureau, please fill in the RSS feedback form and we will take note of your inputs.

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RSS Menu

  • RSS Catalogue
    Go to the Bureau of Meteorology's RSS Feeds page to access them

© Australian Government 2010, Bureau of Meteorology