About NARCliM

The NSW and ACT Regional Climate Modelling (NARCliM) Project is a research partnership between the NSW and ACT governments and the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW. The NSW partners include Sydney Water, Sydney Catchment Authority, Hunter Water, NSW Department of Transport, NSW Department of Primary Industry and NSW Office of Water.

The NARCliM project began in 2011 in response to the need by regional decision makers and impact assessment researchers for high resolution climate change projections. Previously climate change information had been at a scale that could not be used for localised decisions. NARCliM has produced an ensemble of robust regional climate projections for south-eastern Australia that can be used by the NSW and ACT community to plan for the range of likely future changes in climate.1


The region of Australia which was modelled is called the NARCliM domain (see graphic). The domain was chosen to provide robust simulations of NSW’s climate, particularly as the coastal strip contains almost half the population of Australia.

The domain covers are large area of ocean, specifically chosen to capture offshore climate events, such as the storms generated from East Coast Lows.

Map of NARCLIM Domain
NARCliM provides dynamically downscaled climate projections for south-east Australia at a 10-km resolution2 and for the whole of Australasia at 50 km, in line with the CORDEX Framework.3

NARCliM Modelling Overview

The NARCliM projections have been generated from four global climate models (GCMs) dynamically downscaled by three regional climate models (RCMs).

The four GCMs (MIROC, ECHAM, CCCMA and CSIRO Mk3.0) form part of the World Climate Research Program's (WCRP) Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) models, which were used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its Fourth Assessment Report. See the NARCliM Model Selection for more information on how the models were selected.

The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, a dynamical regional climate model, was used to downscale projections from the four GCMs. WRF has been demonstrated to be effective in simulating temperature and rainfall in NSW 45 and provides a good representation of local topography and coastal processes. It was jointly developed by several major weather and research centres in the United States and is widely used internationally.

Three physical configurations of WRF were run with each of the four separate GCMs, for a total of 12 runs, producing a 12 model ensemble. The 12 models were run using a single, representative emissions scenario: the IPCC high emissions scenario A2. The 12 models were run for three time periods: 1990 to 2009 (base), 2020 to 2039 (near future), and 2060 to 2079 (far future). A reanalysis dataset is also available for the period 1950 to 2009.

NARCliM project model output

The NARCliM models generate data for more than 100 meteorological variables. The most commonly used variables are being provided through Adapt NSW website in multiple formats to ensure the information is easily accessible and easy to use. These include:

  • 2-metre temperature (hourly)
  • daily maximum 2-metre temperature
  • daily minimum 2-metre temperature
  • precipitation (total 1 hour)
  • surface pressure
  • 2-metre specific humidity (hourly)
  • 10-metre wind speed (hourly)
  • surface evaporation
  • soil moisture
  • snow amount
  • sea surface temperature.

NARCliM data management

NARCliM has generated a very large dataset, almost 1 petabyte in size (1 million gigabytes). This dataset is stored at NSW Government facilities at Silverwater and recognised by the Federal Government as a dataset of national significance and will be stored on Commonwealth data repositories.

Data sets for download are available in ASCII format or GIS formats.


UNSW Climate Change Research Centre NARCLiM Project Page

Technical Note 1 - Choosing GCMs [PDF 552kB]

Technical Note 2 - Choosing the RCMs to perform the downscaling [PDF 458kB]

Technical Note 3 - Guidance on the use of bias corrected data  [PDF 195kB]

Technical Note 4 – NARCliM Climatological Atlas [PDF 53.1MB]


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  1. Evans JP, Ji F, Lee C, Smith P, Argüeso D and Fita L (2014) Design of a regional climate modelling projection ensemble experiment – NARCliM (PDF 1.43 MB). Geosci. Model Dev., 7, 621–629. 
  2. NARCliM 10-km domain covers south-eastern Australia and much of the Tasman Sea (135-165E, 23-40S).
  3. Giorgi F, Jones C and Asrar GR (2009) Addressing climate information needs at the regional level: the CORDEX framework  (PDF 504 KB), WMO Bulletin, 58(3), 175–183. 
  4. Evans JP and McCabe MF (2010) Regional climate simulation over Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin: a multi-temporal assessment, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 115, D14114, doi:10.1029/2010JD013816. 
  5. Evans JP and McCabe MF (2013) Effect of model resolution on a regional climate model simulation over south-east Australia, Clim. Res., 56, 131–145, doi:10.3354/cr01151.