Climate Data

PRISM High-Resolution Spatial Climate Data for the United States: Max/min temp, dewpoint, precipitation

PRISM is a set of monthly, yearly, and single-event gridded data products of mean temperature and precipitation, max/min temperatures, and dewpoints, primarily for the United States. In-situ point measurements are ingested into the PRISM (Parameter elevation Regression on Independent Slopes Model) statistical mapping system. The PRISM products use a weighted regression scheme to account for complex climate regimes associated with orography, rain shadows, temperature inversions, slope aspect, coastal proximity, and other factors. Climatologies (normals) are available at 30-arcsec (800 meters) and monthly data are available at 2.5 arcmin (4 km) resolution. PRISM is the USDA's official climatological data.

Key Strengths:

  • Climatological data at very high spatial resolution, generated with a repeatable statistical procedure guided by expert knowledge
  • Performs well in regions of complex terrain, for example capturing temperature-height profiles associated with valley-floor inversions and transitions to the free atmosphere

Key Limitations:

  • Utility for climate change studies is not well-known; the heterogeneous station network could cause temporal discountinuities

Technical Notes

Generally, people in the climate modelling community are not familiar with ArcInfo ASCII Grid format and prefer to use netCDF. One approach is to convert to netCDF. One approach is described at:

temporal metadataID:


Climatology | Monthly


Spatial Resolution

4 km, 800m

Ocean or Land

Land Only

Vertical Levels

Data Access: Please Cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions.

Key Figures

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Cite this page

National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified 23 Dec 2015. "The Climate Data Guide: PRISM High-Resolution Spatial Climate Data for the United States: Max/min temp, dewpoint, precipitation." Retrieved from

Acknowledgement of any material taken from this page is appreciated. On behalf of experts who have contributed data, advice, and/or figures, please cite their work as well.