A veritable time capsule of detailed climate data is now available to Australian climate researchers.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts's (ECMWF) Reanalysis version 5 (ERA5) is a comprehensive reanalysis of weather models and observational data from ground and satellite sensors, stretching from 1950 to the present.

The ERA5 collection includes detailed estimations of air pressure, windspeed, temperature and other climate variables. This reanalysis has significant improvements over its predecessors and promises to provide a high-resolution multi-faceted overview of the Earth’s weather and climate from the preceding seventy years.

The ERA5 has been recognised as a significant reference dataset, and it has been eagerly anticipated by Australian climate researchers. To unlock its full potential for climate research, ERA5 requires local access that is readily accessible for high-performance computing and data analysis systems. With supercomputing infrastructure and robust data services, NCI is the ideal location for Australian researchers to collaborate and analyse the ERA5 data.

Dr Ben Evans leads the computational models and data activities at NCI. He said, “NCI provides a national centre for computational and climate scientists to collaborate on model and data analysis. The ERA5 data collection is a significant addition to our collections, and will be analysed alongside petabytes of other nationally significant climate, weather and environmental reference datasets that have been amassed on high performance storage at NCI.”

The project was made possible by an infrastructure grant from the ARC LIEF scheme, and with co-funding by several major universities including Monash, ANU, UNSW, UTAS and Melbourne University.

The Chief Investigator of the grant, Prof Michael Reeder, explained that ERA5 will be an integral part of much of the weather and climate science done in Australia.

“Among other things, Australian weather and climate scientists will use the data to verify the fidelity of our climate models; to provide the initial conditions for high-resolution simulations and seasonal forecasts; and to discover the physical processes shaping our atmosphere, ocean and climate. These uses support the further improvement of the models used to make predictions of Australia's weather and climate.”

For more details on ERA5 and NCI, see Data Services.