Supercomputer to predict WA climate change 75 years into future

10 March 2023

One of the world's most powerful and greenest supercomputers will soon produce the most reliable and comprehensive climate change projections for Western Australia until the end of the century.

  • New WA Government partnership to provide most accurate view of future climate
  • Ground-breaking climate change projections will help WA adapt and build resilience
  • The collaborative project is part of WA's Climate Science Initiative

The Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre's Setonix supercomputer will help governments, businesses, and communities understand and adapt to the impacts of climate change.


Setonix takes just one second to do a calculation that would take a human 1.5 billion years to achieve.


It weighs 45 tonnes and contains 12 kilometres of optical cable. Its power is equivalent to 150,000 laptops working in unison. 


The state-of-the-art projections will allow the Government to prepare for more intense extreme weather events like cyclones, floods and bushfires, better protect WA's unique biodiversity and support major investment decisions in energy infrastructure, planning and regional development.


The first projections are expected to be available to climate scientists next year. They will then be analysed and processed for use by a broader audience.


The project is being led by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation's Climate Science Initiative in partnership with the New South Wales Government, Murdoch University, and the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre.


Global climate models divide the Earth into grid cells ranging from 100 to 250 kilometres. These cells are often too big to examine the impacts of climate change at local scales, where differing climate events may occur within the same grid.


The Climate Science Initiative will produce more detailed projections at a grid scale of four kilometres initially for the State's South West for localised information to guide policy and decision-making. The North West will be covered by national climate projections at a grid scale of 20 kilometres.


For more information on the Climate Science Initiative, visit


Comments attributed to Climate Action Minister Reece Whitby:


"It's exciting we are partnering with a team of world-leading scientists and using one of the most powerful supercomputers on the planet to understand climate change in WA at a local level.


"Setonix is the scientific name for quokka. It's fitting WA will again be showcased on the world stage. The supercomputer at peak power is 30 times more powerful than its predecessors and ten times more energy efficient.


"The supercomputer's capabilities are extraordinary. It's a significant acknowledgement of our State and the nation's investment to take action against climate change.


"We are already experiencing the impacts of more intense and frequent extreme weather events. These projections will provide the best information possible to shape our decisions."


Comments attributed to Emergency Services and Innovation and the Digital Economy Minister Stephen Dawson:


"This technology is truly a game-changer. From medical research, to astronomy, mapping DNA to protect iconic species and now climate change.


"In my capacity as Emergency Services Minister, I'm also excited about how this technology could help us better prepare for extreme weather events.


"I'm proud WA continues to be at the forefront of digital innovation and these projections will guide policy and decision-making.


"It's great to have world-class infrastructure right here in Perth. The supercomputer is an important asset not only to our State but the global research community."


Minister's office - 6552 6300