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Other climate projections available for NSW

Key points

  • Computer modelled climate projections are the best information we have on our future climate.
  • The primary source for NSW climate projections is through NSW and Australian Regional Climate Modelling (NARCliM).
  • The first set of NARCliM projections were released in 2014, and are known as NARCliM 1.0. NARCliM 1.5 was released in 2020 and utilised the most current and widely available global climate models. NARCliM 2.0 is  in development and will deliver world-class climate projections with finer resolutions than NARCliM 1.0 and NARCliM 1.5.
  • Easily accessible projections that cover NSW are also available from the Australian Government’s Climate Change in Australia website.
  • It is important to consider your needs and the suitability of the climate projections before choosing and using the data.

Climate projections for NSW

Climate models provide the best information we have on our future climate and help government, industry and community plan for our future.

Around the world there are many governments and institutions developing and providing climate projections using global climate models (GCMs). Few of these projections are easily accessible, tailored for regional decision making or designed to support a diverse range of applications.

For NSW, there are two key sources for climate projections:

  • The NSW government led NARCliM initiative
  • The CSIRO and BOM led Climate Change in Australia

Both sources provide easy access to the data and are designed to support adapting to climate change.

NARCliM climate projections

NARCliM is a multi-agency research project led by the NSW Government developing high-resolution regional climate projections for use in estimating the likely impacts of a changing climate and assessing opportunities for adaptation.

NARCliM data provide the most comprehensive and reliable view of future climate for NSW and south-eastern Australia. It is built with the same greenhouse gas emissions data used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and information specific to NSW. This combination generates climate projections at a regional scale for NSW.

There are currently two generations of NARCliM projections and a third one in development:

  • NARCliM 1.0 (2014)
  • NARCliM 1.5 (2020) - enhancement to N1.0
  • NARCliM 2.0 (in development).

The free and publicly accessible NARCliM datasets have been used widely, for example: by government agencies (transport, health, infrastructure, planning, environment), the private sector and consultants, NSW Parks, the Australian Energy Market Operator, universities, and a broad range of academic users.

The data has been applied in projects including those relating to epidemiology, coastal inundation, koalas and heatwaves, wheat cropping seasons, extreme events, water supply and demand modelling, flood management, climate risk models, and climate model development.

Please note that NARCLiM 1.5 data should only be used in combination with NARCLiM 1.0 data, unless the purpose is for stress testing against a hotter drier future. 

NARCliM 1.0

NARCliM 1.0 climate projections were released in 2014. These projections are provided at a 10-km grid cell resolution across south eastern Australia and 50-km grid cell resolution across the whole of Australia. Information is available as:

  • One historical projection (1990 to 2009)
  • Two future projections (near future 2020 to 2039 and far future 2060 to 2079)

NARCliM 1.0 is built from:

  • Four global climate models (MIROC, ECHAM, CCCMA and CSIRO Mk3.0) and 3 regional climate models to produce 12 regional projection models
  • the 2010 CMIP3 dataset (this collection was gathered by the IPCC for the Fourth Assessment Report).
  • the 2010 IPCC’s A2 emissions scenario (the most likely scenario at that time) as outlined in the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
  • Re-analysis using the NCEP: 1950 to 2009 dataset.

The climate projections used throughout the AdaptNSW website, including the regional maps of projections, are based on NARCliM 1.0 projections.

Detailed information on NARCliM 1.0 can be found on the Climate projections used on AdaptNSW page.

NARCliM 1.5

NARCliM 1.5 climate projections were released in 2020. These projections build on from the NARCliM 1.0 ‘near future’ and ‘far future’ projections to create continuous climate projections for two future greenhouse gas concentration scenarios. These projections are provided at a 10-km grid cell resolution across south eastern Australia and 50km grid cell resolution across the whole of Australia. Information is available as:

  • One historical projection (1951 to 2005)
  • Continuous future projections (1950 to 2100).

NARCliM 1.5 is built from:

  • Three global climate models (ACCESS1.0, ACCESS1.3, CanESM2) and two regional climate models to produce six regional projection models per emissions scenario
  • the 2014 CMIP5 dataset (this collection was gathered by the IPCC for the Fifth Assessment Report).
  • the IPCC’s revised emissions scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 – known as representative concentration pathways)
  • Re-analysis using the ERA-Interim data set: 1979 to 2013 dataset.

NARCLiM 1.5 compliments NARCLiM 1.0 by simulating a hotter, drier future than in NARCLiM 1.0. It has the added advantage of providing continuous climate projections and an additional emissions scenario.

Detailed technical information on NARCliM 1.5 can be found on the NSW Climate Data Portal.

NARCliM 2.0

The next generation of NARCliM data is in development and will use a combination of IPCC’s CMIP6 GCMs and regional climate models (RCMs) for 1960-2100 using two greenhouse gas/radiative forcing scenarios. This dataset is due for release in 2023.

Accessing NARCliM data

NARCliM projections can be used by researchers, governments, industries and communities to understand and plan for the future climates of their regions.

Data from NARCliM 1.0 and NARCliM 1.5, and terms and conditions for use, can be accessed through the NSW Climate Data Portal website.

Climate change in Australia projections

The climate change projections for Australia released in 2015 were primarily developed to support the planning needs of Australia’s natural resource management sector, and to provide information to assist climate adaptation processes. However, the information presented on this website has applicability across all sectors.   These projections have been produced using an ensemble of CMIP5 Global Climate Models. Unlike the NARCliM projections, they have not been dynamically downscaled. The research was funded by the Australian Government, CSIRO and BoM.

The Climate Change in Australia website makes all the results from this research available through a range of tools and downloadable reports. The website also provides a great deal of learning resources for those wishing to make use of climate projections.

Related information

NARCliM Project Page - UNSW CCRC

Using NARCliM 1.5: reference list for NARCliM data - NSW Government

Climate Change in Australia – CSIRO

Conducting an impact assessment – Climate Change in Australia, CSIRO

Common mistakes when using climate change data – Climate Change in Australia, CSIRO