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Further development and application of AUSTRALIAN RAINMAN to improve management of climate variability

Clewett, J.F. Dr; Ph: (07) 4688 1244; Fax: (07) 4688 1477;

Research organisation: Queensland Centre for Climate Applications, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, PO Box 102, Toowoomba Qld 4350

Collaborators: Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO Division of Atmospherics, New South Wales Agriculture, West Australian Department of Agriculture

Sponsors: RIRDC, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation; LWRRDC, Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation.


To enhance management of climate variability throughout Australia by building knowledge and skills in rural communities about climatic risks and opportunities, seasonal forecasts, and ways to improve management decisions. This will be achieved by:

  • further developing the AUSTRALIAN RAINMAN package to version 3 as a Windows, multi-media CD, Internet compatible product in standard, professional and educational formats by March 1999;
  • establishing an effective promotion/marketing strategy that seeks to improve management, has active cross-links with extension, education and agribusiness, and uses a distribution target of 5,000 packages with 50,000 users in three years as a surrogate performance measure; and
  • implementing a business plan so that benefits from this project are ongoing, and self-funding with regard to future activities such as development of AUSTRALIAN RAINMAN version 4 with improved seasonal forecast tools and streamflow/runoff and temperature data by March 2000.


1. Rainfall data for 4000 sites across Australia were acquired from the Bureau of Meteorology. All missing values were patched using splining techniques. Update rainfall data are available on DNR and BoM web sites: and

2. The main program for Rainman was developed in Visual Basic with scientific calculation libraries for analyses of monthly, seasonal and daily rainfall data. The analyses include comprehensive SOI- and SST-based seasonal forecasts with results displayed as tables, maps and graphs.

3. The multimedia section of Rainman version 3 is to include an HTML version of the book 'Will it Rain?, a CD-Rom version of the Long Paddock web site, a comprehensive set of tutorials for farmers, business people and students, and other reference material including an OHT graphics library.


This project follows on from an earlier one entitled 'RAINMAN: rainfall information for rural communities', which ran from 1990 to 1995. Products arising from this earlier project included Versions 1 and 2 of the Rainman software. Version 1 was for Queensland only. Version 2 expanded this to cover the whole of Australia (4000 locations), with the capacity to produce maps and graphs, and was released in October 1994. A Beta copy of Rainman Version 3 was distributed to collaborators for evaluation in November 1998.

Period: starting date 1996-01; completion date 2000-12

Status: ongoing

Keywords: rainfall analysis; seasonal outlooks; decision support systems; multimedia


AUSTRALIAN RAINMAN V.3.1 (Beta version) on CD-Rom.


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