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SILO - Agrometeorological information system

Beswick, A. Mr; Ph. (07) 3896 9741; fax (07) 3896 9606;

Research organisation: Climate Impacts and Applications Group, Queensland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Meiers Road, Indooroopilly Qld 4068.

Collaborators: Bureau of Meteorology (BoM, Ms Clare Mullen), QDPI (Dr Holger Meinke), CSIRO (Dr Mike Bange)


National Climate Variability Program administered by the Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation (LWRRDC)


  • To provide a rich source of national meteorological data that is readily accessible to decision makers, researchers and educationalists, particularly in the agricultural arena.
  • To develop a coordinated information service that will facilitate further adoption of climatic risk management techniques by landholders and agribusiness.
  • To provide a framework to encourage future additions to the agrometeorological data bank.


Improved climatic risk management is a major goal for rural industries. Improved use of seasonal forecasting information and relevant climate and weather data are pertinent to improved climatic risk management.

The following products are envisaged:

  • Maps and data covering rainfall, temperature, humidity, vapour pressure deficit, incoming radiation, monthly rainfall, historical rainfall percentile and drought analysis;
  • Numerical weather prediction models providing data up to 7 days ahead in the form of 'meteograms' (graphs of weather variables for any location);
  • "data drill" access to a derived continuous historical sequence of daily rainfall, temperature, humidity/vapour pressure deficit and radiation for any location in Australia;
  • daily satellite cloud imagery for a 40-60 day loop;
  • an update mechanism for Australian RAINMAN over the Internet;
  • Seasonal Outlook products including the Bureau's Seasonal Outlook on-line and information on the 40-60 day wave;
  • maps, data and advice on day-degrees, stress indices and chill index up to 4 days into the future.


Available on the SILO web site http://www.BoM.GOV.AU/silo/ as at February 1999:

  • Daily observations of rainfall & temperature observations nationwide including archive information to 12 months prior. Monthly rainfall observations go back 5 years.
  • Maps and grids of daily rainfall, monthly rainfall amounts and percentile analyses, including historical archives, now including State maps.
  • The Bureau's 'Seasonal Climate Outlook' on the web - check rainfall probabilities for three months ahead for many locations.
  • Daily global solar radiation as derived in real-time from satellite data, is available as maps, grids and point values for any location across Australia.
  • Meteogram development nearing completion, delivery during 1999.
  • Patched point dataset (PPD) of meteorological data was identified as a high priority by APSRU Toowoomba and endorsed by other research organisations. It is now operational internally and awaits deployment of a DNR firewall project to give global access.
  • Early applications based on PPD are now underway.
  • Paper on Olive orchard siting advice to be presented in November 1998.
  • Advice for cotton growing under development with CSIRO, Narrabri.
  • Advice for sorghum growers about ergot risk under development.

Status: ongoing

Period: starting date 1996-07; completion date 2000-03

Keywords: agricultural meteorology; agroclimatology; weather data; information services; rural areas


Mullen, C. and Beswick, A. (1998). Use of SILO data for analysing and monitoring regional climate impacts, 12th ANZ Climate Forum, 30 November - 2 December 1998, Perth, Western Australia, p.40.

Beswick, A., Moodie, K., Crimp, S.J., Jeffrey, S., Mullen, C. and Sweeney, S. (1998). Climate considerations for olive orchard site selection using SILO data and climate change scenarios, 12th ANZ Climate Forum, 30 November - 2 December 1998, Perth, Western Australia, p.41.


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