Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR)

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Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR)
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The CFSR is a third generation reanalysis product. It is a global, high resolution, coupled atmosphere-ocean-land surface-sea ice system designed to provide the best estimate of the state of these coupled domains over this period. The CFSR includes (1) coupling of atmosphere and ocean during the generation of the 6 hour guess field, (2) an interactive sea-ice model, and (3) assimilation of satellite radiances. The CFSR global atmosphere resolution is ~38 km (T382) with 64 levels. The global ocean is 0.25° at the equator, extending to a global 0.5° beyond the tropics, with 40 levels. The global land surface model has 4 soil levels and the global sea ice model has 3 levels. The CFSR atmospheric model contains observed variations in carbon dioxide (CO2), together with changes in aerosols and other trace gases and solar variations. With these variable parameters, the analyzed state will include estimates of changes in the Earth system climate due to these factors. The current CFSR will be extended as an operational, real time product into the future. -from RDA abstract on CFSR

Key Strengths

Key Strengths

Superior to previous NCEP reanalyses with respect to: improved model, finer resolution, advanced assimilation schemes, atmosphere-land-ocean-sea ice coupling, assimilates satellite radiances rather than retrievals

Accounts for changing CO2 and other trace gasses, aerosols, and solar variations

Approaches the horizontal resolution of regional reanalyses like the NARR and Arctic System Reanalysis

Key Limitations

Key Limitations

Relatively few evaluations of CFSR have been conducted so the performance is not well-known

Ocean-atmosphere interactions are not used directly. Rather the information is used for background information. The actual reanalysis is uncoupled.

Please cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions
Dataset DOIs
Hosted Climate Index Files
Usage Restrictions


Cite this page

Acknowledgement of any material taken from or knowledge gained from this page is appreciated:

National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified "The Climate Data Guide: Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR).” Retrieved from on 2024-07-21.

Citation of datasets is separate and should be done according to the data providers' instructions. If known to us, data citation instructions are given in the Data Access section, above.

Acknowledgement of the Climate Data Guide project is also appreciated:

Schneider, D. P., C. Deser, J. Fasullo, and K. E. Trenberth, 2013: Climate Data Guide Spurs Discovery and Understanding. Eos Trans. AGU, 94, 121–122,

Key Figures

Climatological (1979-2009) relative humidity at 2-meters. [Climate Data Guide; D. Shea]

Annual cycle of relative humidity at 2-meters. The blue line is the annual average. The horizontal black line is the long term average. [Climate Data Guide; D. Shea]

Other Information

Years of record
Data time period extended
Yes, data set is extended
Sub-daily, Monthly
Input Data

includes satellite radiances; sea ice; precipitation, radiosondes, aircraft, surface, satellite-based wind speed and vectors; other

Vertical Levels:
Missing Data Flag
Spatially complete
Ocean or Land
Ocean & Land
Spatial Resolution

.5°x.5° & 2.5°x2.5°, 0.266 hPA top

Model Resolution (reanalysis)

T382 x 64 levels

Data Assimilation Method
Model Vintage (reanalysis)