Climate Data

The Climate Data Guide is a high-traffic expert knowledge portal providing concise and reliable information on the climate data that are essential for measuring and predicting physical climate risk.

Currently, the Climate Data Guide curates expert insights on over 200 observational datasets and climate indices, searchable or browseable in the list below.

To find a specific dataset or climate variable, jump to the the search box. For only the datasets paired with guidance written by experts, select the "Datasets with guidance" button when using the search box.

Data creators, data publishers, and scientists who use climate data are invited to join our Network of Experts by contributing commentaries on data strengths and limitations to the Climate Data Guide. What type of data are included? See this discussion.

With the exception of about 25 climate indices, the Climate Data Guide does not host datasets.  Data cannot be downloaded from this site. However, links are provided to download locations under the "Data Access" section of each dataset page.


Citation: Please link to this website in your work that draws upon material from this website, and cite this paper:

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, https://doi.org/10.1002/2013eo130001

=> Additionally, each dataset page with expert-written guidance has its own citation example on the individual page, such that the experts who wrote the guidance may be credited. Finally, responsible use and citation of datasets is strongly encouraged.


Climate datasets

Has expert guidance
From Petty et al. (2020); provided by Rachel Tilling Sea Ice Thickness Data Sets: Overview & Comparison Table
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While satellite observations of sea ice extent and concentration are available from 1979, long-term high quality (daily and high spatial resolution) observations of sea ice thickness remain limited as a result of few satellite and in situ observations. Reconstructions…

Main variables and Earth System components

Cryosphere Sea Ice Thickness
Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) datasets: An overview Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) datasets: An overview
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The solar radiation arriving at Earth (once known as the “solar constant”, now usually referred to as Total Solar Irradiance (TSI)), is the most fundamental of climate parameters as it indicates the totality of the energy driving the climate system.  All climate…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere solar irradiance
    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Collections

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SST data: NOAA Optimal Interpolation (OI) SST Analysis, version 2 (OISSTv2) 1x1 SST data: NOAA Optimal Interpolation (OI) SST Analysis, version 2 (OISSTv2) 1x1
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The NOAA Optimal Interpolation SST analysis provides global, spatially complete SSTs on a weekly and monthly basis for 1982-present.

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
NP Index North Pacific (NP) Index by Trenberth and Hurrell; monthly and winter
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The North Pacific Index (NP index or NPI) is the area-weighted sea level pressure over the region 30°N-65°N, 160°E-140°W. The NP index is defined to measure interannual to decadal variations in the atmospheric circulation. The dominant atmosphere-ocean relation in the…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Sea Level Pressure
temporal correlations between 3-day mean rain gauge- and MSWEP-based time series. Each data point represents a rain gauge. Figure from Beck et al. (2017). Global high-resolution precipitation: MSWEP
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Multi-Source Weighted-Ensemble Precipitation (MSWEP) is a sub-daily precipitation dataset with full global coverage at 0.1° resolution, spanning the period 1979 to present. It is updated in near real-time with a latency of three hours, making it suitable for…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
    • Timestep

    • Sub-daily
    • Collections

    • None
CMORPH (CPC MORPHing technique): High resolution precipitation (60S-60N) CMORPH (CPC MORPHing technique): High resolution precipitation (60S-60N)
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"CMORPH (CPC MORPHing technique) produces global precipitation analyses at very high spatial and temporal resolution. This technique uses precipitation estimates that have been derived from low orbiter satellite microwave observations exclusively, and whose features are…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Cloud Dataset Overview Cloud Dataset Overview
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Clouds cover about 70% of the earth's surface. They are important components of the cliimate's water and energy budgets. Historically, cloud reports have come from station or ship observations.  The satellite observation era, beginning in the 1980’s and spanning now…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Cloud Properties
AVISO: Satellite derived  Sea Surface Height above Geoid AVISO: Satellite derived Sea Surface Height above Geoid
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The sea surface height relative to the geoid (the mean ocean surface of the Earth if the ocean is at rest) is derived from TOPEX/Poseidon, Envisat, Jason-1, and OSTM/Jason-2 altimetry measurements. Altimetry is a technique for measuring height. Satellite altimetry measures…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean Sea Level sea surface height
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
GODAS: NCEP Global Ocean Data Assimilation System GODAS: NCEP Global Ocean Data Assimilation System
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GODAS is a real-time ocean analysis and a reanalysis. It is used for monitoring, retrospective analysis as well as for providing oceanic initial conditions for the CFS. Both temperature and synthetic salinity profiles are assimilated in a 3DVAR scheme. Beginning with March…

  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
OAFlux: Objectively Analyzed air-sea Fluxes for the global oceans. OAFlux: Objectively Analyzed air-sea Fluxes for the global oceans.
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"The OAFlux project aims to provide consistent, multi-decade, global analysis of air-sea heat, freshwater (evaporation), and momentum fluxes for use in studies of global energy budget, water cycle, atmosphere and ocean circulation, and climate. The OAFlux project is so…

    • Timestep

    • Daily, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
NCEP-NCAR (R1): An Overview NCEP-NCAR (R1): An Overview
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NCEP-NCAR (R1) is the original reanalysis effort. It uses a frozen global state-of-the-art global data assimilation system (as of 11 January 1995). The original database was enhanced (additional, quality checked datasets) by NCAR's Data Support Section. Originally planned…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Geopotential Height
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
NCAR Sea Level Pressure NCAR Sea Level Pressure
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NCAR Sea Level Pressure is a gridded analysis of SLP based on land station reports, covering 1899 to present for latitudes 30°N-90°N. Quality controlled raw data plus empirical corrections for changes in instrumentation and station location.

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Sea Level Pressure
CHELSA high-resolution land surface temperature and precipitation CHELSA high-resolution land surface temperature and precipitation
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The Climatologies at high resolution for the Earth's land surface (CHELSA) dataset contains high spatial resolution monthly climatologies of mean, maximum and minimum temperatures and mean precipitation, representing the period 1979-2013.  CHELSA is essentially a…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Precipitation
    • Timestep

    • Climatology, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
Amundsen Sea Low indices Amundsen Sea Low indices
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The Amundsen Sea Low (ASL) is a climatological low pressure center located over the extreme southern Pacific Ocean, off the coast of West Antarctica.  Atmospheric variability in this region is larger than anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere, and exhibits…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Sea Level Pressure
NDVI: Normalized-difference-vegetation-index: NOAA AVHRR NDVI: Normalized-difference-vegetation-index: NOAA AVHRR
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Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values are derived from surface reflectance data acquired by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor. By applying knowledge gathered over time about instrument performance and sensor characteristics, the…

Main variables and Earth System components

Land NDVI" Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Sea Ice Concentration data: Overview, Comparison table and graphs Sea Ice Concentration data: Overview, Comparison table and graphs
  • Years of record

Sea ice concentration is both an indicator and driver of high-latitude climate change with strong societal and ecological importance. It is a key boundary condition for atmospheric models (including those used in atmospheric reanalyses) and a benchmark for coupled climate…

Main variables and Earth System components

Cryosphere Sea Ice Concentration Ocean
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
QuikSCAT: near sea-surface wind speed and direction QuikSCAT: near sea-surface wind speed and direction
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The QuikSCAT mission was intended to obtain sea-surface wind speed and direction data under all weather and cloud conditions over Earth's oceans. SeaWinds, an active radar scatterometer, is the main instrument on the QuikSCAT satellite. The microwave backscatter measured…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Wind
World Ocean Atlas 2013 (WOA13) World Ocean Atlas 2013 (WOA13)
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The World Ocean Atlas (WOA) is a set of climatological mean, gridded fields of oceanographic variables based on in-situ measurements from a wide variety of sources.  Global, decadal averages of temperature, salinity, oxygen and nutrients are provided at monthly,…

GRACE: Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment: Surface mass, total water storage, and derived variables GRACE: Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment: Surface mass, total water storage, and derived variables
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The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) refers to a pair of NASA satellites that has flown in low-Earth orbit since 2002. The satellites use a precise microwave ranging system to measure the distance between themselves due to gravitational acceleration. Onboard…

Overview: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Data Sets Overview: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Data Sets
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Directly measured and continuous records of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) extend back to 1958. CO2 has also been measured in ancient air samples trapped in ice cores, and these records extend back hundreds of thousands of years. More recently, CO2 is being sampled by…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere CO2 Biosphere
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
GHCN-D: Global Historical climatology Network daily temperatures GHCN-D: Global Historical climatology Network daily temperatures
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The Global Historical Climatology Network Daily database, GHCN-D, contains meteorological measurements from over 90,000 stations across the globe.  The majority of station records contain precipitation data only, however other key variables including maximum…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Maximum Air Temperature Minimum Air Temperature Precipitation
    • Timestep

    • Daily
    • Collections

    • None
NLDAS-2 Primary Forcing monthly average 2-m surface temperature for July 1980. NLDAS: North American Land Data Assimilation System
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The North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) integrates a large quantity of observation-based and model reanalysis data to produce long-term hourly atmospheric forcing data, and then uses this meteorological data to drive offline (not coupled to the atmosphere…

ERA-20C: ECMWF's atmospheric reanalysis of the 20th century (and comparisons with NOAA's 20CR) ERA-20C: ECMWF's atmospheric reanalysis of the 20th century (and comparisons with NOAA's 20CR)
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The ECMWF's first atmospheric reanalysis of the 20th Century, ERA-20C, provides a long, gridded dataset of many climate variables, spanning 1900-2010.  Observations assimilated include surface pressures from the International Surface Pressure Databank v3.2.6 and…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Multiple variables
EN4 subsurface temperature and salinity for the global oceans EN4 subsurface temperature and salinity for the global oceans
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EN4 is a subsurface temperature and salinity dataset for the global oceans, spanning 1900 to present at a monthly timestep. It includes two types of data products: (1) a database of quality-controled in situ profiles and (2) a spatially complete analyses at 1 by 1 degree…

    • Timestep

    • Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
Cross section of a tree trunk showing alternating light and dark layers of the tree rings. from ucar scied, https://scied.ucar.edu/learning-zone/how-climate-works/tree-rings-and-climate credit pixabay Tree-ring width chronologies: An overview of their use as climate proxies and of available databases
  • Years of record

The width of an annual tree ring is a very simple indicator of the character of that year’s weather, but collectively the global network of tree-ring width measurements represents an invaluable resource for high-resolution paleoclimatology.

Main variables and Earth System components

    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Annual
    • Collections

    • None
E-OBS: High-resolution gridded mean/max/min temperature, precipitation and sea level pressure for Europe & Northern Africa E-OBS: High-resolution gridded mean/max/min temperature, precipitation and sea level pressure for Europe & Northern Africa
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E-OBS is a high spatial resolution daily gridded data that covers the European region and is based on the station data collated by the ECA&D initiative (Klein Tank et al., 2002). These data are supplied by many European National Meteorological Services and other data…

    • Timestep

    • Daily
    • Collections

    • None
maps of SIF and GPP (contributed by Jingfeng Xiao and Xing Li) Global dataset of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (GOSIF)
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GOSIF is a global, gridded dataset of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF). SIF, an energy flux re-emitted by plants a few nanoseconds after light absorption, exhibits a strong linear relationship with gross primary production (GPP) at the ecosystem scale and…

    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Monthly, Weekly
    • Collections

    • None
Asymmetry and Diversity in the pattern, amplitude and duration of El Niño and La Niña Asymmetry and Diversity in the pattern, amplitude and duration of El Niño and La Niña
  • Years of record

El Niño and La Niña, the two phases of ENSO, are sometimes described as opposites. However, there are asymmetries in their spatial structure, amplitude, duration and seasonal evolution. This leads to differing teleconnections and global impacts, as well as implications for…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Collections

    • None
Livneh gridded precipitation and other meteorological variables for continental US, Mexico and southern Canada Livneh gridded precipitation and other meteorological variables for continental US, Mexico and southern Canada
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The Livneh et al. (2015) hydrometeorological dataset consists of gridded daily and monthly precipitation, maximum and minimum air temperature, and wind speed for the continental US, southern Canada, and Mexico for the period 1950-2013. Gridded at 1/16° horizontal…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Maximum Air Temperature Minimum Air Temperature Precipitation Wind
NASA Satellite Product Levels NASA Satellite Product Levels
  • Years of record

NASA data products are categorized into different "Levels". These are product dependent but the following description for OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) data products is a general guideline:Level-1B  (L1B): Products containing geolocated and calibrated spectral…

Main variables and Earth System components

    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Domain

    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
CERES EBAF: Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy Systems (CERES) Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF) CERES EBAF: Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy Systems (CERES) Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF)
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The CERES-EBAF product provides 1-degree regional, zonal and global monthly mean Top-of-Atmosphere (TOA) and surface (SFC) longwave (LW), shortwave (SW), and net (NET) fluxes under clear and all-sky conditions. EBAF is used for climate model evaluation, estimating the…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Cloud Properties Radiation
NOAA 20th-Century Reanalysis, Version 2 and 2c NOAA 20th-Century Reanalysis, Version 2 and 2c
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The Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR) provides a comprehensive global atmospheric circulation data set spanning 1850-2014. Its chief motivation is to provide an observational validation data set, with quantified uncertainties, for assessing climate model simulations of…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Geopotential Height
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
NASA MERRA NASA MERRA
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The Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) was undertaken by NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office with two primary objectives: to place observations from NASA’s Earth Observing System satellites into a climate context and to…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Geopotential Height Precipitable water Water Vapor
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
GHCNDEX: Gridded Temperature and Precipitation Climate Extremes Indices (CLIMDEX data) GHCNDEX: Gridded Temperature and Precipitation Climate Extremes Indices (CLIMDEX data)
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GHCNDEX provides gridded, station-based indices of temperature- and precipitation- related climate extremes. It is intended for climate change detection and attribution studies, climate model evaluation, and operational monitoring of extreme climatic events. Twenty-six…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Maximum Air Temperature Minimum Air Temperature Land Freeze/Thaw
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Meridional Modes and their indices Meridional Modes and their indices
  • Years of record

In each of the world’s tropical ocean basins, year-to-year climate variability is primarily governed by fluctuations in the zonal sea surface temperature (SST) gradient and zonal surface winds. These variations consist of recognizable climate modes, such as the El Niño-…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Wind Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
QBO: Quasi-Biennial Oscillation QBO: Quasi-Biennial Oscillation
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The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is a quasi-periodic oscillation of the equatorial zonal wind between easterlies and westerlies in the tropical stratosphere with a mean period of 28 to 29 months. The alternating wind regimes develop at the top of the lower stratosphere…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Wind
    • Timestep

    • Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Argo Ocean Temperature and Salinity Profiles Argo Ocean Temperature and Salinity Profiles
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Argo is an array of over 3600 profiling floats distributed almost uniformly across the global oceans. First deployed in 2000, Argo floats provide temperature and salinity profiles from the surface to a depth of 2000m. The array has approximately 1 float for every…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean Salinity Sub Surface Salinity Sub Surface Temperature
    • Timestep

    • Monthly, Weekly
    • Collections

    • None
FWI p95 in ERAI and CESM1-LE (contributed by Danielle Touma) Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI)
  • Years of record

Fire weather indices are used to quantify the meteorological conditions that can lead to fire ignition and spread. They are used to communicate fire danger levels to emergency and fire fighting management, as well as the public on short time scales, and also for…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere
    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Domain

    • Collections

    • None
map of Tmin over eastern US (credit: Michele Thornton) Daymet: Daily Surface Weather and Climatological Summaries
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Daymet provides long-term, continuous, gridded estimates of daily weather and climatology variables by interpolating and extrapolating ground-based observations through statistical modeling techniques. The Daymet data products provide driver data for biogeochemical…

Global surface temperature data: MLOST: NOAA Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis Global surface temperature data: MLOST: NOAA Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis
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NOAA's Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (MLOST) combines land surface air temperatures primarily from the Global Historical Climatology Network, Monthly (GHCN-M) version 3 with SSTs of the ERSSTv3b analysis into a comprehensive global surface temperature data…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
SST data: HadSST4 SST data: HadSST4
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HadSST4 provides monthly SST anomalies on a 5°x5° grid for 1850-present. The anomalies are derived from a 30-year climatology spanning 1961-90. Coverage is global but there is no interpolation; Thus, missing data occur in the final product. This means that uncertainties…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
MODIS GPP/NPP Project (MOD17) MODIS GPP/NPP Project (MOD17)
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The goal of the MOD17 MODIS project is to provide continuous estimates of Gross/Net Primary Production (GPP/NPP) across Earth’s entire vegetated land surface. MOD17 GPP/NPP outputs are useful for natural resource and land management, global carbon cycle analysis, ecosystem…

Main variables and Earth System components

Biosphere NPP: Net Primary Production
    • Timestep

    • Monthly, Weekly, Annual
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
AIRS and AMSU: Tropospheric air temperature and specific humidity AIRS and AMSU: Tropospheric air temperature and specific humidity
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The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) project has generated decadal-length, global, gridded data sets of temperature and specific humidity for several standard levels in the troposphere for the obs4MIPS project. This obs4MIPS version of the AIRS data are available at…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Specific Humidity
Tropical Moored Buoy System: TAO, TRITON, PIRATA, RAMA (TOGA) Tropical Moored Buoy System: TAO, TRITON, PIRATA, RAMA (TOGA)
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The Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere program (TOGA) is a component of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) aimed specifically at the prediction of climate phenomena on time scales of months to years. In order to achieve the TOGA goals, a strategy of large-scale,…

    • Timestep

    • Sub-daily, Daily, Monthly, Weekly
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
SST data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs, version 3 (ERSSTv3 & 3b) SST data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs, version 3 (ERSSTv3 & 3b)
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The NOAA Extended Reconstruction Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) provides global, spatially complete SST data at a monthly timestep for 1854-present. Version3 is based upon statistical interpolation of the ICOADS release 2.4 data. Version 3 includes satellite AVHRR SST…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
SST data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs, Version 4 SST data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs, Version 4
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The NOAA Extended Reconstruction Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) provides global, spatially complete SST data at a monthly timestep for 1854-present.  Compared to the previous version, Version 4 uses the more extensive ICOADS Release 2.5 data and revised quality…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
CMCC Global Ocean Reanalysis System (C-GLORS) CMCC Global Ocean Reanalysis System (C-GLORS)
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"The CMCC Global Ocean Physical Reanalysis System (C-GLORS) is used  to simulate the state of the ocean in the last decades. It consists of a variational data assimilation system (OceanVar), capable of assimilating all in-situ observations along with altimetry data,…

    • Timestep

    • Daily, Monthly, Weekly
    • Collections

    • None
ICOADS Surface Marine Weather Observations ICOADS Surface Marine Weather Observations
  • Years of record

ICOADS (International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set) is the most comprehensive archive of global marine surface climate observations available. Variables include SST, SLP, air temperature, wind speed, cloud amount, and others. There is no processing beyond…

Global Permafrost Zonation Index Map Global Permafrost Zonation Index Map
  • Years of record

This data set contains a global (excluding Antarctica) 1 km map of permafrost zonation. It is an estimate of to what degree permafrost exists in a region nearly everywhere, or only in the most favorable conditions. These local conditions affecting permafrost occurrence…

Main variables and Earth System components

Cryosphere Permafrost Land
Radiative kernels from climate models Radiative kernels from climate models
  • Years of record

The radiative kernel technique is a method used to quantify radiative feedbacks in response to global warming.  Radiative kernels are commonly calculated for the water vapor, lapse rate, temperature and albedo feedbacks.  Radiative kernels are used to deconstruct…

Main variables and Earth System components

    • Timestep

    • Climatology
    • Collections

    • None