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
- occurrence and distribution of coral bleaching
- patterns of species distribution.
Weather Stations online
Data collected by the AIMS 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.
It is important to note that the stations do not provide forecasts. As they are located in remote locations, the data may not be always up to date. Always check with the Bureau of Meteorology before planning any activities where the weather may impact your safety.
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. The stations located at Cape Bowling Green, Townsville and at Ningaloo in Western Australia are located on land adjacent to the reef and don’t include in-water sensors.
What we monitor
Weather stations record climatic conditions including air temperature, wind 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.
Using the Data
The data are freely available via our dedicated weather station portal. The displays recent weather conditions at the stations. The data explorer is a more complex tool allowing users to specify the data required -location, times and variables - then download the data for other use.
When using the data please note the following:
- the data is not a forecast and should not be relied upon for making decisions that may impact your safety. Please see the Bureau of Meteorology site.
- Please acknowledge AIMS as the source of the data in any use of the data. This helps us understand who is using the data and what for.
- The weather stations are located in remote areas and so may not be up to date (due to communications and other technical issues). As they vary in design, they may not provide standardised quality-controlled data as you would get from the Bureau of Meteorology.