One of the most useful services provided by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is their long-range weather and climate forecasting.

With the start to the growing season upon us, any extra help in weather forecasting to assist the planning and timing of vineyard operations is valuable.

Check out the graphs here for rainfall, maximum temperature and minimum temperature. Search for your location and obtain long-range predictions for one week, two weeks, one month or three months.

Looking for something interesting to add to your office or lunchroom wall? The BOM also has some really interesting maps depicting 120 years of Australian rainfall and 110 years of Australian temperatures. Both can be downloaded as posters.

The rainfall map shows the decile rank of rainfall for each calendar year. This provides an indication of how the observation values for each year sit relative to the 120 year history. These historical decile maps do need to be recomputed from year-to-year.

According to the BOM, the maps show if an observation is average (middle decile bands 4 to 7), below average (decile bands 2 to 3), very much below average (decile band 1), above average (decile bands 8 to 9) or very much above average (decile band 10). The extreme ends of the distribution are the lowest on record and highest on record, and each can also be considered within decile bands 1 and 10 respectively.

The temperature map shows the anomaly of mean temperature for each calendar year compared to the average over the standard reference period of 1961 to 1990.

For a closer look at each year, you can also zoom in to view the maps from a state basis and change from a calendar year to a financial year.

Do these maps match your recollection for any given year?