Helping Australian cities plan for the changing climate

A dynamic new climate model with greater resolution than other models has been developed by researchers with the help of AARNet

Helping Australian cities plan for the changing climate

Australia’s environment is set to change rapidly over the next few decades. Temperatures are increasing, and more extreme weather events are predicted. This will impact every part of Australian life, from our cities, to our water supply and our environment. Because of this, it’s vital that Australia prepares for its future climate.

Professor Jason Evans of the Climate Change Research Centre and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes has developed a new climate model that predicts changing weather patterns with greater resolution. Professor Evans’ model predicts weather patterns down to 50km2 across Australia, even to a resolution of 10km2 in Australia’s heavily populated south east.

Climate models are designed to predict climate on a macro scale – over states and entire countries. What these simulations leave out is the more detailed picture of how weather changes locally. Vegetation, nearby water bodies, buildings and the topography of the land can all affect rainfall rates and temperature, leading to microclimates. By mapping these microclimates, Professor Evans’ research is being used by industries to plan their water future, industries including construction, insurance and city planning.

Climate simulations require huge amounts of data processing. Interactions between particles micrometres in length affect kilometre-long cloud movements across the entire planet. To get a truly accurate dynamic model, all this data needs to be considered.

Professor Evans’ research requires large amounts of data output from Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) to be transferred across the country and to his team at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The data requires real-time streaming to allow simulations to run. To make this possible, AARNet’s Advanced Research Network connects all three institutions for high bandwidth data transfer.

"AARNet has been vital to this research. Achieving the workflow required terabytes of data to be transferred between NCI, Pawsey and UNSW on a regular basis. Without the high bandwidth available through AARNet this research could not have been done."

The work isn’t finished, however. Professor Evans’ research will now focus on predicting the effects of multiple extreme weather events within a short period. The model’s resolution will also be increased, giving even greater detail to Australia’s weather systems. These future simulations will require more supercomputing power and faster connection speeds from supercomputing centres to researchers like Professor Evans. A mission Australia can accomplish with the help of AARNet.

Please note: This case study has been adapted from a case study first published on the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre website. View the original case study.

Image credit: Markus Gebauer/

What our customers are saying

“Without the high bandwidth available through AARNet this research could not have been done.”

Professor Jason Evans, ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes

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