Climate Data

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 download from this site. However, links are provided to download locations under the "Data Access" section of each dataset page.

Climate datasets

Has expert guidance
Nino SST Indices (Nino 1+2, 3, 3.4, 4; ONI and TNI) Nino SST Indices (Nino 1+2, 3, 3.4, 4; ONI and TNI)
  • Years of record

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There are several indices used to monitor the tropical Pacific, all of which are based on SST anomalies averaged across a given region.  Usually the anomalies are computed relative to a base period of 30 years.  The Niño 3.4 index and the Oceanic Niño Index (…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI)
  • Years of record

The Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) uses readily available temperature and precipitation data to estimate relative dryness. It is a standardized index that generally spans -10 (dry) to +10 (wet). Maps of operational agencies like NOAA typically show a…

Main variables and Earth System components

Land Drought
Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI)
  • Years of record

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The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is a widely used index to characterize meteorological drought on a range of timescales. On short timescales, the SPI is closely related to soil moisture, while at longer timescales, the SPI can be related to…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation Land Drought
    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Monthly
    • Domain

    • Collections

    • None
Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO)
  • Years of record

  • to

The Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) has been identified as a coherent mode of natural variability occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean with an estimated period of 60-80 years. It is based upon the average anomalies of sea surface temperatures (SST) in…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR)
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Geopotential Height Precipitable water Ocean
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Global Temperature Data Sets: Overview & Comparison Table Global Temperature Data Sets: Overview & Comparison Table
  • Years of record

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Global surface temperature data sets are an essential resource for monitoring and understanding climate variability and climate change. The most commonly used data sets combine historical observations of near surface air temperatures at land stations with…

Main variables and Earth System components

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

  • None
Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI)
  • Years of record

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The Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) is an extension of the widely used Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). The SPEI is designed to take into account both precipitation and potential evapotranspiration (PET) in determining drought…

Main variables and Earth System components

    • Timestep

    • Monthly, Seasonal, Annual
    • Collections

    • None
GPCC: Global Precipitation Climatology Centre GPCC: Global Precipitation Climatology Centre
  • Years of record

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The GPCC provides gridded gauge-analysis products derived from quality controlled station data. Two products are for climate: (a) the Full Data Reanalysis Product  (1901-2010) is recommended for global and regional water balance studies, calibration/validation…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO): Definition and Indices Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO): Definition and Indices
  • Years of record

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The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is defined by the leading pattern (EOF) of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the North Pacific basin (typically, polewards of 20°N).  The SST anomalies are obtained by removing both the climatological annual cycle…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
Precipitation Data Sets: Overview & Comparison table Precipitation Data Sets: Overview & Comparison table
  • Years of record

Precipitation (rain, snow, hail, ...) is one of the key components of the hydrological cycle. Its societal importance cannot be over stated. For climate research, precipitation is one of the key terms for balancing the energy budget, and one of the most…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
TerraClimate: Global, high-resolution gridded temperature, precipitation, and other water balance variables TerraClimate: Global, high-resolution gridded temperature, precipitation, and other water balance variables
  • Years of record

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TerraClimate is a global gridded dataset of meteorological and water balance variables for 1958-present, available on a monthly timestep. Its relatively fine spatial resolution, global extent, and long length are a unique combination that fills a void in…

    • Timestep

    • Climatology, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
GPCP (Monthly): Global Precipitation Climatology Project GPCP (Monthly): Global Precipitation Climatology Project
  • Years of record

  • to

Data from rain gauge stations, satellites, and sounding observations have been merged to estimate monthly rainfall on a 2.5-degree global grid from 1979 to the present. The careful combination of satellite-based rainfall estimates provides the most complete…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
JRA-55 JRA-55
  • Years of record

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Spanning 1958-present, JRA-55 is the longest third-generation reanalysis that uses the full observing system (in contrast, products like ERA-20C and NOAA 20CR assimilate a very limited set of observations while NCEP R1 uses an antiquated model and assimilation…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Geopotential Height Precipitable water
    • Timestep

    • Sub-daily, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
Global surface temperatures: BEST: Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures Global surface temperatures: BEST: Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures
  • Years of record

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The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) are a set of data products, originally a gridded reconstruction of land surface air temperature records spanning 1701-present, and now including an 1850-present merged land-ocean data set that combines the land…

Station based DJFM NAO Index Hurrell North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index (station-based)
  • Years of record

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The winter (December thru March) station-based index of the NAO is based on the difference of normalized sea level pressure (SLP) between Lisbon, Portugal and Stykkisholmur/Reykjavik, Iceland since 1864. Positive values of the NAO index are typically associated…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Sea Level Pressure
ERA5 atmospheric reanalysis ERA5 atmospheric reanalysis
  • Years of record

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ERA5, the successor to ERA-Interim,  provides global, hourly estimates of atmospheric variables, at a horizontal resolution of 31 km and 137 vertical levels from the surface to 0.01 hPa. Produced by ECMWF, ERA5 presently extends back to 1979; it will ultimately…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere
PRISM High-Resolution Spatial Climate Data for the United States: Max/min temp, dewpoint, precipitation PRISM High-Resolution Spatial Climate Data for the United States: Max/min temp, dewpoint, precipitation
  • Years of record

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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…

CRU TS Gridded precipitation and other meteorological variables since 1901 CRU TS Gridded precipitation and other meteorological variables since 1901
  • Years of record

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The CRU TS series of data sets (CRU TS = Climatic Research Unit Timeseries) contain monthly timeseries of precipitation, daily maximum and minimum temperatures, cloud cover, and other variables covering Earth's land areas for 1901-2015 (CRU TS4.0 is a recent…

    • Timestep

    • Climatology, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
APHRODITE: Asian Precipitation - Highly-Resolved Observational Data Integration Towards Evaluation of Water Resources APHRODITE: Asian Precipitation - Highly-Resolved Observational Data Integration Towards Evaluation of Water Resources
  • Years of record

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APHRODITE’s (Asian Precipitation - Highly-Resolved Observational Data Integration Towards Evaluation) gridded precipitation is a set of long-term (1951 onward) continental-scale daily products that is based on a dense network of rain-gauge data for Asia…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Precipitation
Atmospheric Reanalysis: Overview & Comparison Tables Atmospheric Reanalysis: Overview & Comparison Tables
  • Years of record

Reanalysis a systematic approach to produce data sets for climate monitoring and research. Reanalyses are created via an unchanging ("frozen") data assimilation scheme and model(s) which ingest all available observations every 6-12 hours over the period being…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere
IBTrACS: Tropical cyclone best track data IBTrACS: Tropical cyclone best track data
  • Years of record

IBTrACS (International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship) provides global tropical cyclone best track data in a centralized location to aid our understanding of the distribution, frequency, and intensity of tropical cyclones worldwide. The World…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Storm data
TRMM: Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission TRMM: Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission
  • Years of record

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The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is a joint space mission between NASA and Japan's National Space Development Agency designed to monitor and study tropical and subtropical precipitation and the associated release of energy. The mission uses 5…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
SST data: HadiSST v1.1 SST data: HadiSST v1.1
  • Years of record

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The Hadley Centre Global Sea Ice and Sea Surface Temperature (HadISST) is a combination of monthly globally complete fields of SST and sea ice concentration for 1871-present. This page focuses on the SST data; see the separate page for discussion of HadISST sea…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Global surface temperature data: GISTEMP: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Surface Temperature Analysis Global surface temperature data: GISTEMP: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Surface Temperature Analysis
  • Years of record

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NASA Goddard's Global Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) combines land surface air temperatures primarily from the GHCN-M version 4 with SSTs of the ERSSTv5 analysis into a comprehensive global surface temperature data set spanning 1880 to the present at…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
Multivariate ENSO Index Multivariate ENSO Index
  • Years of record

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The Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) is said to capture a more holistic representation of the atmospheric and oceanic anomalies that occur during ENSO events than do single-variables timeseries like the NinoSST indices. The MEIv2 is based on five variables from…

Main variables and Earth System components

  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Climate Data Guide NCEP Reanalysis (R2)
  • Years of record

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NCEP-DOE Reanalysis II (R2) is an improved version of the NCEP-NCAR Reanalysis I (R1). The improvements include an updated model with better physical parameterizations, assorted data assimilation errors were fixed and additional data were included. Still, it…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Geopotential Height Precipitable water
    • Timestep

    • Sub-daily, Daily, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
PERSIANN-CDR: Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks - Climate Data Record PERSIANN-CDR: Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks - Climate Data Record
  • Years of record

  • to

The Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks- Climate Data Record (PERSIANN-CDR) provides daily rainfall estimates at a spatial resolution of 0.25 degrees in the latitude band 60S - 60N from 1983 to the near-…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
Overview: Climate Indices Overview: Climate Indices
  • Years of record

A climate index is a simple diagnostic quantity that is used to characterize an aspect of a geophysical system such as a circulation pattern. A variety of methods have been used to derive assorted indices. Classically, selected station, grid point or regional…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Ocean
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Global land-ocean surface temperature data: HadCRUT5 Global land-ocean surface temperature data: HadCRUT5
  • Years of record

  • to

HadCRUT5 is one of the main datasets used to monitor global and regional surface temperature variability and trends. It is a global surface temperature product that combines land surface air temperatures from CRUTEM5 with SSTs from HadSST4. HadCRUT5 is a…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature at 2m Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
Southern Oscillation Indices: Signal, Noise and Tahiti/Darwin SLP (SOI) Southern Oscillation Indices: Signal, Noise and Tahiti/Darwin SLP (SOI)
  • Years of record

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The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is a time series used to characterize the large scale sea level pressure (SLP) patterns in the tropical Pacific. Monthly mean SLP at Tahiti [T] and Darwin [D] are used. An optimal SOI can be constructed. It consists of  [T-D…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Sea Level Pressure
Marshall Southern Annular Mode (SAM) Index (Station-based) Marshall Southern Annular Mode (SAM) Index (Station-based)
  • Years of record

  • to

The station-based index of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is based on the zonal pressure difference between the latitudes of 40S and 65S.  As such, the SAM index measures a "see-saw" of atmospheric mass between the middle and high latitudes of the Southern…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Sea Level Pressure
SST  Data Sets: Overview & Comparison Table SST Data Sets: Overview & Comparison Table
  • Years of record

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Sea surface temperature (SST) data sets are an essential resource for monitoring and understanding climate variability and climate change.  By surface area, SSTs are the dominant (~71%) input into merged global land-ocean surface temperature data products.  …

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
SODA:  Simple Ocean Data Assimilation SODA: Simple Ocean Data Assimilation
  • Years of record

  • to

The Simple Ocean Data Assimilation, or SODA, analysis is an ocean reanalysis data set consisting of gridded variables for the global ocean, as well as several derived fields. The goal is to provide an improved estimate of ocean state from those based solely on…

    • Timestep

    • Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
NASA's MERRA2 reanalysis NASA's MERRA2 reanalysis
  • Years of record

  • to

The Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) is a global atmospheric reanalysis produced by the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO). It spans the satellite observing era from 1980 to the present. The…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Aerosols Air Temperature Geopotential Height Precipitable water
    • Timestep

    • Sub-daily, Daily, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
SST data: NOAA High-resolution (0.25x0.25) Blended Analysis of Daily SST and Ice, OISSTv2 SST data: NOAA High-resolution (0.25x0.25) Blended Analysis of Daily SST and Ice, OISSTv2
  • Years of record

  • to

"NOAA’s Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface temperature (OISST, also known as Reynolds’ SST) is a series of global analysis products, including the weekly OISST on a 1° grid to the more recent daily on a ¼° grid. An SST analysis is a spatially gridded product…

Main variables and Earth System components

Cryosphere Sea Ice Concentration Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
Global surface temperature data: HadCRUT4 and CRUTEM4 Global surface temperature data: HadCRUT4 and CRUTEM4
  • Years of record

  • to

Extending back to 1850 and frequently updated, HadCRUT4 is the longest data set of its type. HadCRUT4 is a combination of the global land surface temperature data set, CRUTEM4 and the global SST data set, HadSST3. HadCRUT4 is different from the most closely…

Main variables and Earth System components

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

  • None
GPCP (Daily): Global Precipitation Climatology Project GPCP (Daily): Global Precipitation Climatology Project
  • Years of record

  • to

The 1DD product provides precipitation estimates on a 1-degree grid over the entire globe at 1-day (daily) for the period October 1996 - present. Both the Pentad and 1DD products are consistent with the Version 2 monthly product in the sense that the Pentad and…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
Global (land) precipitation and temperature:  Willmott & Matsuura, University of Delaware Global (land) precipitation and temperature: Willmott & Matsuura, University of Delaware
  • Years of record

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A series of gridded temperature and precipitation data sets. Station records that served as bases for the Terrestrial Air Temperature: 1900-2014 Gridded Monthly Time Series (Version 4.01) and Terrestrial Precipitation: 1900-2014 Gridded Monthly Time Series (…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Air Temperature at 2m Precipitation
Hurrell North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index (PC-based) Hurrell North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index (PC-based)
  • Years of record

  • to

The principal component (PC)-based indices of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are the time series of the leading Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) of SLP anomalies over the Atlantic sector, 20°-80°N, 90°W-40°E. These indices are used to measure the NAO…

Main variables and Earth System components

Sea Level Pressure Atmosphere
Tide gauge sea level data Tide gauge sea level data
  • Years of record

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The global sea level record from tide gauges is an important indicator of the evolution and impact of global climate change.  Tide gauge data also capture a variety of local and regional phenomena related to decadal climate variability, tides, storm surges,…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean Sea Level
    • Formats

    • Timestep

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

    • None
SST data: HadSST3 SST data: HadSST3
  • Years of record

  • to

HadSST3 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. The primary input…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
CMAP: CPC Merged Analysis of Precipitation CMAP: CPC Merged Analysis of Precipitation
  • Years of record

  • to

CMAP refers to a collection of precipitation data sets, though the 2.5°x2.5° global monthly version is probably the most widely used. This data set is constructed from an analysis of gauge data and satellite-derived precipitation estimates. An "enhanced"…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
ERA-Interim ERA-Interim
  • Years of record

  • to

Using a much improved atmospheric model and assimilation system from those used in ERA-40, ERA-Interim represents a third generation reanalysis. Several of the inaccuracies exhibited by ERA-40 such as too-strong precipitation over oceans from the early 1990's…

NDVI: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index-3rd generation: NASA/GFSC GIMMS NDVI: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index-3rd generation: NASA/GFSC GIMMS
  • Years of record

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Normalized Difference Vegetation Index-3rd generation (NDVI) using the Global Inventory Monitoring and Modeling System (GIMMS):  Vegetation indices are radiometric measures of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by chlorophyll in the green leaves of…

Main variables and Earth System components

  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR): AVHRR Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR): AVHRR
  • Years of record

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OLR (Outgoing Longwave Radiation) is a measure of the amount of energy emitted to space by earth's surface, oceans and atmosphere. As such, it is a critical component of the earth's radiation budget. In a different context, OLR values are often used as a proxy…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Outgoing Longwave Radiation
    • Timestep

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

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
CPC Unified Gauge-Based Analysis of Global Daily Precipitation CPC Unified Gauge-Based Analysis of Global Daily Precipitation
  • Years of record

  • to

A gauge-based analysis of daily precipitation has been constructed over the global land areas. Gauge reports from over 30,000 stations are collected from multiple sources including GTS, COOP, and other national and international agencies. Quality control is…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
    • Timestep

    • Daily
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
CMORPH (CPC MORPHing technique): High resolution precipitation (60S-60N) CMORPH (CPC MORPHing technique): High resolution precipitation (60S-60N)
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Precipitation
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
SST Data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs Version 5 (ERSSTv5) SST Data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs Version 5 (ERSSTv5)
  • Years of record

  • to

The NOAA Extended Reconstruction Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) provides global, spatially complete SST data at a monthly timestep for 1854-present. Version5 is based upon statistical interpolation of the ICOADS release 3.0 data. Argo float data are used in…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
CCMP: Cross-Calibrated Multi-Platform wind vector analysis CCMP: Cross-Calibrated Multi-Platform wind vector analysis
  • Years of record

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The CCMP wind analysis is a near-global, high spatial and temporal resolution gridded dataset of surface wind vectors spanning 1987-present.  The input data are a combination of inter-calibrated satellite data from numerous radiometers and scatterometers and in…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Wind
    • Timestep

    • Sub-daily
    • Collections

    • None
NCEP-NCAR (R1): An Overview NCEP-NCAR (R1): An Overview
  • Years of record

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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.…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Geopotential Height
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None