Tuesday 9 December 2014 will mark the 'passing of the baton' as, after 106 years in operation, the station on La Trobe Street in Melbourne will be replaced by Melbourne (Olympic Park) as the official weather observation and forecast location for the city of Melbourne.
The official record of weather observations for Melbourne extends back to 1855, with a few breaks. It draws on observations from several locations, including Flagstaff Gardens (1858-1863), the Melbourne Observatory at the Botanic Gardens (1863-1908) and the Royal Society of Victoria on La Trobe Street (1908-2014).
The effects of urbanisation have become increasingly visible in the 106 years of data at La Trobe Street. Wind readings progressively deteriorated over the years, due to obstruction by buildings constructed around the city, and were finally switched off in 2009.
In November 2013, we launched a new observation station at Melbourne (Olympic Park). The Olympic Park site is the result of a partnership between the Bureau and Melbourne and Olympic Parks, which offered us an excellent location for a meteorological weather station. The new site allows us to take high-quality meteorological observations that meet the international observing standards of the World Meteorological Organization. The station provides readings of air temperature, wind speed and direction, air pressure, rainfall and relative humidity. These observations are available on our website at ten-minute intervals.
The two observation stations have now been operating in tandem for over 12 months. This is done so we can compare data and identify differences in the readings for forecast and long-term climate comparisons. Initial results suggest the new site shows similar rainfall and temperature readings in most weather conditions, although it is cooler in southerly winds and sea breezes.
The Bureau has 88 automatic weather observation stations across Victoria, including 22 in or around the Melbourne metropolitan area. Latest weather observations for the Melbourne area are available at www.bom.gov.au/vic/observations/melbourne.shtml.
The La Trobe Street station will continue operating until early January 2015, when it will be closed permanently.
The Bureau of Meteorology wishes to thank the Royal Society of Victoria for its invaluable support for Melbourne's weather record over the past 106 years.
La Trobe Street statistics:
- Highest temperature recorded: 46.4°C (7 February 2009)
- Lowest temperature recorded: -1.5°C (4 July 1963)
- Wettest day: 113.4 mm (3 February 2005)
- Maximum wind gust: 121 km/h (3 September 1982)
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