What is the ACCESS-NRI

The Australian Earth-System Simulator (ACCESS-NRI) is a national research Infrastructure created to support development and research with the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) modelling system.

ACCESS is a large computer modelling system for research with atmospheric, ocean, sea-ice, and land surface models coupled to a range of chemical and biological models.

ACCESS currently supports critical modelling and research that contributes to IPCC reports, seasonal and regional forecasting, and climate adaptation policy among many other uses.

This facility is a major collaborative undertaking between the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO and five Australian universities, in collaboration with national and international partners.

ACCESS is the largest coupled modelling system developed in the Southern Hemisphere. Coupled earth systems involve complex computer code that simulates the physical components of the Earth System and how they interact including:

Why do we need an Australian Earth System Model?

ACCESS is specifically designed and set up to perform well in the Australian region. It has the versatility to predict weather and climatic conditions from hours to many decades ahead. It encompasses phenomena as diverse as the currents in the Southern, Pacific and Indian ocean, droughts from prolonged El Niño conditions, and rainfall from the Asian monsoon.

Around the world, there are over 100 global climate models available and used by international research teams to better understand our past, present and future climate. Each climate model has different strengths and biases. Most climate and weather models are developed by research groups in the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, these models may not always focus on the climate drivers and phenomena most important or relevant to Australia.

As a National research Infrastructure, ACCESS-NRI equips Australia:

  • With an ability to focus on global climate as well as the weather and climate of the Australasian region and the Southern Hemisphere.
  • To build the capability and capacity of Australian researchers and technicians in climate science, observations and high­performance computational modelling.
  • To develop Australia’s capability to conduct its own global and regional climate experiments.
  • To critically assess the results of climate experiments done by others internationally.

What is a National Research Infrastructure?

In 2021, ACCESS became a National Research Infrastructure (NRI) facility through funding from the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Program at the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).

A National Research Infrastructure (NRI) refers to the facilities, equipment and resources that are needed to perform research, and the experts needed to manage and run the infrastructure. Infrastructure can be physical, like a supercomputer or microscope, or intangible, like a data collection or software platform, such as the ACCESS  modelling system.

There are 23 National Research Infrastructure Projects in Australia and ACCESS–NRI has strong links and dependencies with several of them.