About NARCliM

NARCliM (NSW and ACT Regional Climate Modelling) is as NSW Government led partnership that provides high resolution climate change projections across NSW. The partnership began in 2011 and now includes the NSW, ACT and South Australian Governments and the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW. The first NARCliM projections were delivered in 2014 in response to a need expressed by regional decision makers and impact assessment researchers for high resolution climate change projections. The 2014 NARCliM projections produced an ensemble of robust regional climate projections that can be used by the NSW and ACT community to plan for the range of likely future changes in climate.1

These projections have now informed major strategic planning initiatives such as the NSW State Infrastructure Strategy (2018 – 2038), Future Transport 2056, Greater Sydney Region Plan, NSW State Level Emergency Risk Assessment, and regional water strategies.

NARCliM Domain

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 2014 NARCliM projections were 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 model output

The regional 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. Other common variables are available for download from the Climate Data Portal and 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

In developing the 2014 NARCliM projections, a very large dataset was generated, 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 552 KB]

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

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

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


Environment and Heritage Logo


act government logo


Sydney water logo


Sydney catchment authority logo


Hunter valley logo


transport for NSW logo


department of primary industries logo


NSW Office of Water logo


UNSW logoclimate change research centre



  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.