Weather station at Davies Reef, GBR. Photo: S.Clarke, AIMS

Weather stations

Weather data is critical for understanding the physical environment in which marine life exists. The weather drives surface waves, water temperature and the water flows that transport nutrients, and thus plays a direct part in determining:

  • timing of coral and fish spawning
  • why some areas have higher productivity than others
  • patterns of species distribution.

The data collected by our network of weather stations represents the best long-term, on-reef record of climate and climate events in the region, with some stations having operated for over 30 years. In a world of change this provides an essential baseline against which we can measure and understand current conditions.

They provide essential information to the meteorological and scientific communities as well as an important source of information to the local boating community. The stations provide real-time data every 10 minutes on above-water meteorological conditions and in-water temperatures.

Locations

AIMS operates 16 stations in the Great Barrier Reef region from Torres Strait in the north to Heron Island in the southern Reef. Additional stations have been deployed in Darwin (Northern Territory) and in the Ningaloo reef complex (Western Australia).

Stations are either located on existing infrastructure such as tourist pontoons and channel markers, or on infrastructure developed by AIMS.

Weather data is recorded live from multiple stations. Visit Data on this website for all weather station information.

What we monitor

Weather stations record climatic conditions including air temperaturewind speed, wind direction and barometric pressure. They record water temperatures at various depths and the amount of above-water photosynthetically active radiation. A small number of stations also include above- and below-water cameras.

Weather station at Hardy Reef. Photo: AIMS

Cyclones and other weather events

The AIMS weather stations have recorded information for significant weather events such as tropical cyclone Yasi, which traversed the central Reef in 2011, tropical cyclone Ita, which passed over the northern Reef in 2014, and warm-water events such as the one that preceded the 1998 coral bleaching event.

More information