Atmospheric high-resolution regional reanalysis for Australia

What is a reanalysis?

The Bureau of Meteorology Atmospheric high-resolution Regional Reanalysis for Australia (BARRA) is the first of its kind for the Australian region. The Bureau of Meteorology is making a major investment into this new dataset because of the important benefits it offers to Australia. A meteorological "reanalysis" takes all available observations and uses a weather model to consistently fill in the fine detail, both at the surface where people live and in the atmosphere as well. Reanalysis datasets are extremely valuable because they provide a consistent method of analysing the atmosphere over a number of years or decades giving greater understanding of the weather over Australia, including extreme events. This greater understanding allows for better planning and management to reduce risks for the future.

The regional reanalysis suite is based on the Australian Community Climate Earth-System Simulator (ACCESS) which is developed in close collaboration between the Bureau, CSIRO and Australian universities. The region covered by the reanalysis, shown below, is the Australian continent, and the surrounding region including parts of southeast Asia, New Zealand, and south to the ice edge of the Antarctic continent.

The reanalysis over the Australian domain is provided with a resolution of approximately 12 km and extends over 70 levels up to 80 km into the atmosphere. For a small number of subdomains, the 12-km reanalysis is downscaled to a 1.5 km resolution.

BARRA Domains

BARRA domain map. BARRA-R Regional 12km domain within the light blue dotted box, covers all of Australia, New Zealand and the maritime continent. Smaller black boxes are the 1.5km subdomains centred over some major Australian cities, Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth.

BARRA offers higher resolution in space and time than existing global reanalyses and has been developed specifically for Australia.

About 100 parameters are archived at hourly (and some at 10 minute) time intervals. This includes information about surface conditions (such as temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, humidity, evaporation and soil moisture) and at pressure and model levels as well as information on solar radiation and cloud cover.

How reanalysis can work for you

A bushfire rages, New Year's Day, 1 January 2006, near Merimbula, New South Wales, as fire crews work nearby. Photo credit: Stephen Kemp, Bureau of Meteorology Bondi Beach storm, Sydney Australia. Photo by bjeayes.

Fire Agencies

Fire agencies are looking to the Bureau reanalysis dataset to better understand the nature of bushfire in Australia. The high spatial and temporal resolution selected subregions across Australia will allow much more detailed understanding of historic major fire events and will especially improve the understanding of vulnerability and the threat of loss in large events. This improved understanding will assist in resilience to future impacts.

Impactful Weather Events

Studies of impactful weather events over Australia such as tropical cyclones, east coast lows and heatwaves will be assisted by the detailed information on wind, rainfall, temperature and pressure available from reanalysis data. Reanalysis data provides a homogenous record over time that can be used to better understand their behaviour to assist in developing more accurate forecasts for these events in the future.
Storm clouds over a wind farm at Codrington, Victoria, 9 May 2004. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia, Credit: Nancy Robinson Photo of fog over a vineyard in the Yarra Valley, Victoria. Photo by FiledIMAGE

Energy Industry

Energy Industries overseas have made extensive use of reanalysis datasets. Reanalysis datasets can offer information ranging from where to best site renewable energy generation, to detailed examination of past extreme weather events over Australia that have affected the energy market.


The fine spatial and temporal scale of reanalysis datasets offer the chance to study in detail impactful weather events in the agricultural industry such as frost, flood and hail. This can lead to a greater understanding of and preparedness for extreme weather.

Infographic showing image of collaborate, reserach and invest

Last Modified: 11 Jul 2019

This is really big data.
Nearly 100 meteorological parameters.
12 km grid covering Australia, New Zealand and surrounds (1.5 km over some sub-domains).
70 levels in the atmosphere (the top level is at 80 km). 4 soil levels down to 3 m.
Analysed hourly, everyday, over 25 years (1990-2016)

Simulation of Tropical Cyclone Yasi (28 January to 2 February 2011)

Simulation of cloud cover (2010 to 2016)

Simulation of cloud cover from ERA-Interim and BARRA (February 2015)

Simulation of cloud cover over New South Wales for two resolutions: 12 km and 1.5 km (February 2015)

The Bureau has over 100 years of experience in monitoring, predicting and analysing the weather and climate of Australia. With world-class researchers and the new state-of-the-art reanalysis dataset, the Bureau is able to provide an expert picture of Australian extreme weather events that may affect your organisation or business. Research collaboration is also sought.

What is available?

BARRA was released in-full in July 2019 covering a period from 1990 to 2019 February inclusive for the Australian domain and all four subdomains.

The following datasets are now available:

  • BARRA-R (12km resolution over Australia, New-Zealand and the maritime continent) for the period 1990-01-01 to 2019-02-28
  • BARRA-AD (1.5km resolution over SA) for the period 1990-01-01 to 2019-02-28
  • BARRA-PH (1.5km resolution over South-West WA) for the period 1990-01-01 to 2019-02-28
  • BARRA-SY (1.5km resolution over Eastern NSW) for the period 1990-01-01 to 2019-02-28
  • BARRA-TA (1.5km resolution over Tasmania) for the period 1990-01-01 to 2019-02-28

To give you a flavour of what is available, we are providing a small sample. The sample dataset contains the full set of parameters for both the 12-km resolution over the Australian continent BARRA-R and the 1.5-km high-resolution over the Tasmania domain BARRA-TA, for a 24-hour period on 7th February 2015. Refer to the accompanying ReadMe file for details including file structure and format. The sample data are provided solely for demonstration purposes. Note that accessing the sample data constitutes acceptance of the Express Licence Agreement and Licence Schedule.

A complete list of parameters - including metadata and explanations - is available as a master parameter list pdf. Also available as a spreadsheet. Hovering over the column titles will give extra information. The other two worksheets provide information about the available model, pressure and soil levels available.

How to get access

Academic use

For strictly academic use, BARRA data are available free of charge via the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI). You can request access to the data by emailing You'll need to complete and attach two forms:

  1. Provide information on parameters required - Parameter survey

    Indicate the parameters you require in the attached spreadsheet – simply place a cross next to the appropriate parameter. We collect this information to help us in the provision and further development of BARRA products. Information about the parameters requested will also form part of the License Schedule completed in Step 2. Please contact us should you require assistance with this step.

  2. Complete the Licence Schedule – License Schedule

    Populate the ‘Licence Schedule’ where indicated by text in black, noting the conditions of the Express Licence Agreement provided with the Licence Schedule. Please read the ‘Privacy Collection Notice’ and indicate whether or not you agree to us sharing information about the data you have requested with other BARRA users.

Attach the completed documents to your email and we'll get back to you with the next steps.

Commercial use

BARRA data can now be requested for commercial use. Please contact us for details at

How to get involved

The reanalysis will ultimately represent a suite of high-resolution gridded meteorological datasets and as such will prove valuable for a large range of applications such as developing climatologies of weather extremes across the nation, understanding short-lived and
fast-developing phenomena and the study of bushfires, one of the most costly natural disasters in Australia.

There is a wide scope of areas and ideas that remain to be explored. Are you a researcher that has an interesting case study or idea to examine? We welcome collaboration or research using the reanalysis data.

For more information or to subscribe to our newsletter please contact:

Our partners

The reanalysis work to date has been done in conjunction with emergency service agencies and research institutions (ACE CRC and University of Tasmania) for their region of interest. Funding to undertake this work for Tasmania is supported by the Tasmanian Government and Australian Government, provided under the Tasmanian Bushfire Mitigation Grants Program. We are continuing to work with these agencies to analyse weather during and leading up to historical extreme events. We would also like to acknowledge our close collaboration with the UK Met Office, NIWA and NCI.

. Department of Fire and Emergency Services Logo Country Fire Service Logo Government of South Australia Department of Environment, Water and Natural Reseources Logo UK Met Office Logo NIWA Taihoro Nukurangi Logo National Computational Infrastructure Logo New South Wales Rural Fire Service Logo Antartic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre Logo University of Tasmania Logo Tasmanian Government Logo