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
CERES: IGBP Land Classification CERES: IGBP Land Classification
  • Years of record

The International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP) defines ecosystems surface classifications. The CERES (Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System)10-minute data can be used to derive the land categories. Other, finer resolution gridded surface data are…

Main variables and Earth System components

Land Land Cover Type Vegetation Cover
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
SST data: NOAA Optimal Interpolation (OI) SST Analysis, version 2 (OISSTv2) 1x1 SST data: NOAA Optimal Interpolation (OI) SST Analysis, version 2 (OISSTv2) 1x1
  • Years of record

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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
AVISO: Satellite derived  Sea Surface Height above Geoid AVISO: Satellite derived Sea Surface Height above Geoid
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean Sea Level sea surface height
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
World Ocean Atlas 2013 (WOA13) World Ocean Atlas 2013 (WOA13)
  • Years of record

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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…

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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere CO2 Biosphere
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
North Pacific (NP) Index  by Trenberth and Hurrell; monthly and winter North Pacific (NP) Index by Trenberth and Hurrell; monthly and winter
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Sea Level Pressure
NDVI: Normalized-difference-vegetation-index: NOAA AVHRR NDVI: Normalized-difference-vegetation-index: NOAA AVHRR
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Land NDVI" Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) datasets: An overview Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) datasets: An overview
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere solar irradiance
    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Collections

    • None
Soil Moisture Data Sets: Overview & Comparison Tables Soil Moisture Data Sets: Overview & Comparison Tables
  • Years of record

Soil moisture is a state variable of the land that crosses the interfaces of several disciplines, including meteorology, hydrology, climatology and ecology. Soil moisture content controls the partitioning of net radiation at the land surface between sensible…

Main variables and Earth System components

Land Soil Moisture
    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Domain

    • Collections

    • None
GODAS: NCEP Global Ocean Data Assimilation System GODAS: NCEP Global Ocean Data Assimilation System
  • Years of record

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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.…

  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Sea Ice Thickness Data Sets:  Overview & Comparison Table Sea Ice Thickness Data Sets: Overview & Comparison Table
  • Years of record

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.…

Main variables and Earth System components

Cryosphere Sea Ice Thickness
NCAR Sea Level Pressure NCAR Sea Level Pressure
  • Years of record

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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
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
  • Years of record

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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…

ERA40 ERA40
  • Years of record

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ERA 40 is a second generation reanalysis. It is the first reanalysis to directly assimilate satellite radiance data (TOVS, SSM/I, ERS and ATOVS). Cloud Motion Winds are also used. The result is better circulation over the tropics and southern hemisphere.…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Geopotential Height Water Vapor
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Global surface temperature data: MLOST: NOAA Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis Global surface temperature data: MLOST: NOAA Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

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

  • None
EN4 subsurface temperature and salinity for the global oceans EN4 subsurface temperature and salinity for the global oceans
  • Years of record

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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…

    • Timestep

    • Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
OAFlux: Objectively Analyzed air-sea Fluxes for the global oceans. OAFlux: Objectively Analyzed air-sea Fluxes for the global oceans.
  • Years of record

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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…

    • Timestep

    • Daily, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
QuikSCAT: near sea-surface wind speed and direction QuikSCAT: near sea-surface wind speed and direction
  • Years of record

  • to

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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Wind
Argo Ocean Temperature and Salinity Profiles Argo Ocean Temperature and Salinity Profiles
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean Salinity Sub Surface Salinity Sub Surface Temperature
    • Timestep

    • Monthly, Weekly
    • Collections

    • None
CHELSA high-resolution land surface temperature and precipitation CHELSA high-resolution land surface temperature and precipitation
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Precipitation
    • Timestep

    • Climatology, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
Cloud Dataset Overview Cloud Dataset Overview
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Cloud Properties
GPM: Global Precipitation Measurement Mission GPM: Global Precipitation Measurement Mission
  • Years of record

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The GPM is n international satellite mission launched by NASA and JAXA on Feb. 27, 2014. The GPM is a follow-on to TRMM which, after 17 years, officially came to an end on April 15, 2015. In addition to the moderate and heavy rainfall that TRMM was capable of…

Main variables and Earth System components

    • Timestep

    • Sub-daily, Daily, Monthly
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
QBO: Quasi-Biennial Oscillation QBO: Quasi-Biennial Oscillation
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Wind
    • Timestep

    • Monthly
    • 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)
  • Years of record

  • to

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,…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Cloud Properties Radiation
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
  • Years of record

  • to

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…

    • Timestep

    • Daily
    • Collections

    • None
Amundsen Sea Low indices Amundsen Sea Low indices
  • Years of record

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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
NASA MERRA NASA MERRA
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

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

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

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"The new Climate Data Record (CDR) provides daily global climate data that are valuable as inputs into Radiation Budget Studies and verifying numerical models and can identify the variations in tropical clouds and rainfall that drive global weather patterns.…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Outgoing Longwave Radiation
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
NOAA 20th-Century Reanalysis, Version 2 and 2c NOAA 20th-Century Reanalysis, Version 2 and 2c
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Air Temperature Geopotential Height
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
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…

Main variables and Earth System components

    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Domain

    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
GHCN-D: Global Historical climatology Network daily temperatures GHCN-D: Global Historical climatology Network daily temperatures
  • Years of record

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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
NDVI and EVI: Vegetation Indices (MODIS) NDVI and EVI: Vegetation Indices (MODIS)
  • Years of record

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MODIS vegetation indices, produced on 16-day and monthly intervals and at multiple spatial resolutions, provide consistent spatial and temporal comparisons of vegetation canopy greenness, a composite property of leaf area, chlorophyll and canopy structure. Two…

    • Timestep

    • Daily, Monthly, Weekly
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
Liquid Water Path: Overview Liquid Water Path: Overview
  • Years of record

Liquid water path  (LWP) is one of the most important variables for modeling the atmosphere.  LWP is measure of the weight of the liquid water droplets in the atmosphere above a unit surface area on the earth, given in units of kg m−2 (AMS Glossary). It is…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Liquid Water Path
    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Domain

    • Collections

    • None
  • 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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Cryosphere Sea Ice Concentration Ocean
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • 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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
    • Formats

    • Timestep

    • Collections

    • None
SST data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs, version 3 (ERSSTv3 & 3b) SST data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs, version 3 (ERSSTv3 & 3b)
  • 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. Version3 is based upon statistical interpolation of the ICOADS release 2.4 data. Version 3 includes satellite…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
GHCNDEX: Gridded Temperature and Precipitation Climate Extremes Indices (CLIMDEX data) GHCNDEX: Gridded Temperature and Precipitation Climate Extremes Indices (CLIMDEX data)
  • Years of record

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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.…

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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Wind Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
SST data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs, Version 4 SST data: NOAA Extended Reconstruction SSTs, Version 4
  • 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.  Compared to the previous version, Version 4 uses the more extensive ICOADS Release 2.5 data and revised…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
SST data: HadSST4 SST data: HadSST4
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Ocean SST - sea surface temperature
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)
  • Years of record

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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…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Multiple variables
GFED: Global Fire Emissions Database GFED: Global Fire Emissions Database
  • Years of record

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The Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED)  "combines satellite information on fire activity and vegetation productivity to estimate gridded monthly burned area and fire emissions, as well as scalars that can be used to calculate higher temporal resolution…

Main variables and Earth System components

Biosphere Biomass Fire NPP: Net Primary Production
    • Timestep

    • Daily, Monthly, Annual
    • Collections

    • None
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
ORAS4: ECMWF Ocean Reanalysis and derived ocean heat content ORAS4: ECMWF Ocean Reanalysis and derived ocean heat content
  • Years of record

  • to

ECMWF's current ocean reanalysis uses a sophisticated data assimilation methodology which includes a model bias correction. The ocean model used is forced by atmospheric daily surface fluxes, relaxed to SST and bias corrected. The Balmaseda et al (QJRMS 2013)…

  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
AIRS (Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder): Version 6 Level 2 AIRS (Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder): Version 6 Level 2
  • Years of record

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AIRS Version 6 Level 2 data represent a significant improvement over AIRS Version 5 Level 2 products in terms of greater stability, yield, and quality. Several algorithmic improvements have been made by the AIRS Project in conjunction with the AIRS Science Team…

  • Experts contributing reviews

  • 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
  • Years of record

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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°…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere Maximum Air Temperature Minimum Air Temperature Precipitation Wind
CRU sc-PDSI (self-calibrating PDSI) over Europe & North America CRU sc-PDSI (self-calibrating PDSI) over Europe & North America
  • Years of record

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Maps of the monthly self-calibrating Palmer drought severity index (SCPDSI) have been calculated for the period 1901–2002 for the contiguous United States (20°–50°N and 130°–60°W) and Europe (35°–70°N, 10°W–60°E) with a spatial resolution of 0.5° × 0.5…

Main variables and Earth System components

Land Drought
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
AIRS and AMSU: Trace Gases (CO2, CO, CH4, O3...); Level 3 AIRS and AMSU: Trace Gases (CO2, CO, CH4, O3...); Level 3
  • Years of record

AIRS provides satellite retrieval of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide even under cloudy conditions, without the use of a priori information from models. AIRS retrievals use cloud-cleared thermal IR radiance spectra in the 15 micron band with an accuracy better…

Main variables and Earth System components

Atmosphere CO Ozone: Tropospheric Biosphere CH4-Methane CO CO2
  • Experts contributing reviews

  • None
CMCC Global Ocean Reanalysis System (C-GLORS) CMCC Global Ocean Reanalysis System (C-GLORS)
  • Years of record

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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…

    • Timestep

    • Daily, Monthly, Weekly
    • Collections

    • None
U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI) U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI)
  • Years of record

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The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI) was first presented in 1995 as a framework for quantifying observed changes in climate within the contiguous United States. At present, the CEI evaluates the percent area of extremes in the distribution of much above/below…

Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE)
  • Years of record

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The Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) is a model-generated best fit to Southern Ocean observations.  As such, it provides a quantitatively useful climatology of the mean-state of the Southern Ocean.  Technically, SOSE is a solution to the MITgcm.  SOSE is a…