Wine Industry Newsletter

Online tools to describe your climate and soils

The internet is a big place with overwhelming amounts of information, so wine producers can be excused for not being aware of the online datasets they can freely access to describe the climate and soils of their vineyards and localities.

This article aims to highlight a few of these resources.

DPIRD weather stations and radar

This online tool visually displays weather station locations operated by state (DPIRD, DBCA and DFES) and federal government (BoM) agencies. Clicking on the stations provides access to live and historic climatic data. These datasets can be illustrated in graphs, in tables and exported as csv files.  

If a vineyard is not near a weather station, clicking on a location anywhere on the map will produce a ‘virtual station’ calculated via an algorithm using data from nearby stations.

Accessing this information on a smart device is available through an app downloadable from Apple Store and Google Play.

Historic climate data from SILO

SILO is a database hosted by Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science containing Australian climate data from 1889 to present. It provides daily meteorological datasets for a range of climate variables in ready-to-use formats suitable for biophysical modelling, research and climate applications.

This site provides up to 10 years of daily or monthly summaries for rainfall, temperature and humidity on a 5km grid.

This site is a valuable source of raw data for modelling and similar activities but not as user-friendly as DPIRD weather.

NRInfo (natural resource information) for Western Australia

DPIRD's NRInfo is a source of natural resource maps and data derived from databases maintained by DPIRD and other government agencies including Landgate, Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Environmental Protection Authority and Geoscience Australia.

This is a powerful and complex tool providing information on:

  • Property and cadastre boundaries
  • soil-landscapes, land systems, land capability, land qualities and data confidence.
  • hydrology (natural drainage lines and surface water catchments, hydrozones for groundwater trend and salinity risk assessment)
  • native vegetation (type, pre-European extent, current extent, interim biogeographic regions of Australia).

To fully utilize this tool, users are recommended to first read about the key features.

To demonstrate an excellent feature that can help producers understand in depth the soil properties of an area of interest:

  • Zoom into the map to the area of interest or simply search for an address
  • select on the top right hand menu ‘Soil – Landscape Mapping’
  • click on menu option ‘Soil Landscape Mapping – Best Available'
  • move the cursor to the area on the map of interest and click to reveal a summary report
  • a report of proportion of soil types and a detailed technical report is now accessible.