Using weather forecasts

What is ‘weather’ and does it differ to ‘climate’?

“Sunshine is delicious,
rain is refreshing,
wind braces us up,
snow is exhilarating;
there is really no such thing as bad weather,
only different kinds of good weather.” John Ruskin

Weather forecasts are a handy tool for predicting future weather conditions and packing appropriate gear on a bushwalk. Knowing in advance if the trip will be particularly cool, hot, wet or dry means you can tweak your gear to best meet your needs.

In Australia, we are a land of extremes, from snow-capped peaks to arid desert conditions. Bushfire awareness is a key part of weather forecasting for us, as well as knowing when to pack warm clothes for Alpine conditions.

Of course, no weather forecast will ever be 100% reliable, but as technology improves, experts are better than ever before at predicting conditions. And technology like weather radars, maps and satellite images mean that you can get a fairly good idea into what to expect. Long-term datasets also enable walkers to select walks based on typical seasonal weather patterns so you can avoid (if you wish) camping out in the rainiest months of the year! As a general rule shorter term forecasts are more reliable than longer term forecasts. Forecast for the next 24hrs from a reputable source (such as BOM or NOAA) tend to be very reliable.

Dive into this topic by first learning more about weather and then how to check conditions before and during a bushwalk.

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