Bureau's Atmospheric high-resolution Regional Reanalysis for Australia (BARRA)

About the reanalysis

We're reanalysing 29 years of atmospheric data to better understand weather systems over Australia.

The BARRA reanalysis provides a consistent way to analyse the data over time. It helps Australians to:

  • understand weather and extreme events in Australia
  • plan for and manage these events
  • identify future risks.

This project uses:

  • the Australian Community Climate Earth-System Simulator (ACCESS) computer weather model
  • available observations from January 1990 to February 2019.

We worked with CSIRO and Australian universities to develop the reanalysis.

Area of reanalysis

The region covered by the reanalysis shown in figure 1 includes:

  • the Australian continent
  • part of Asia
  • New Zealand
  • some Pacific Islands
  • part of the Southern Ocean to the ice edge of the Antarctic continent.

The resolution of the Australian area is about 12 km and we reduced this to a 1.5 km resolution for sub-areas within Australia.

All areas have 70 vertical levels up to 80 km into the atmosphere - a higher resolution than existing global reanalysis.

BARRA Domains

Figure 1: Region covered by the reanalysis. 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 has about 100 parameters at hourly intervals. This includes information at surface conditions such as:

  • temperature
  • precipitation
  • wind
  • humidity
  • evaporation
  • soil moisture.

Besides surface data, there are:

  • parameters at pressure and model levels
  • information on solar radiation and cloud cover.
Reanalysis in action
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

Australian fire agencies use the Bureau's reanalysis dataset to help them better understand the nature of bushfires. The high spatial and temporal resolution selected subregions across Australia provide more detail for historic fires helping agencies access risks and vulnerabilities for the future.

Extreme Weather Events

Studies of extreme 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, providing more detail on weather behaviour.
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 a detailed examination of past extreme weather events over Australia that have affected the energy market.


The fine spatial and temporal scale of reanalysis datasets can be used by the agriculture sector to understand better and prepare ahead for extreme weather events, such as frost, flood and hail – helping the agriculture sector to plan and prepare for extreme weather.

Infographic showing image of collaborate, reserach and invest

Last Modified: 06 Feb 2023

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)

We have 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, we're able to provide an expert picture of Australian extreme weather events that may affect your organisation or business.

Available data

BARRA was released in full in July 2019. It covered 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 covers a 24-hour period on 7 February 2015. It contains the full set of parameters for:

  • 12-km resolution over the Australian continent BARRA-R
  • 1.5-km high-resolution over the Tasmania domain BARRA-TA

Refer to the accompanying ReadMe file for details including file structure and format. We provide this data for demonstration purposes only.

A complete list of parameters - including metadata and explanations - is available as a master parameter list. 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 academic use, BARRA data are available free of charge through the National Research Data Repository at the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) via THREDDS Data Server.

See the NCI Data Catalogue on the data products and data access.

You can join the project cj37 if you have an NCI account at MyNCI website.

Commercial use

There are several options for accessing BARRA data for commercial use:

  1. Direct access is available from the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI). The data is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International. The Bureau does not provide support for data access through the NCI.

  2. Extraction and packaging of data can be provided by the Bureau on a fee for service basis. Contact us for details at helpdesk.reanalysis@bom.gov.au.

  3. The Bureau can provide analysis and reporting of BARRA data to meet customer requirements. To discuss your needs, contact us at business.solutions@bom.gov.au.

How to get involved

The reanalysis represent a suite of high-resolution gridded meteorological datasets. It can be 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.

For more information or to subscribe to our newsletter contact: helpdesk.reanalysis@bom.gov.au

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