Terrestrial Hydrology Research Group

Princeton University

High resolution daily meteorological data for northern/west/east Africa


A 10km, daily meteorological dataset for west/east Africa has been developed for 1979‐2008. The dataset is based on the NCEP‐NCAR reanalysis (NNR) merged with the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) monthly gridded temperature product and the NASA Langley Surface Radiation Budget (SRB) product. Downscaling in space is carried out with account for changes in elevation. The CRU product has been evaluated for temporal inconsistencies that are attributable to changes in contributing gauges and simple adjustments are carried out to remove step changes. Adjustments are made to ensure consistency among variables, such as between downward longwave and humidity/temperature, and between temperature and humidity to maintain relative humidity. Empirical adjustments to downward short and longwave surface fluxes are made to achieve consistency with precipitation. The dataset has been evaluated against observations from the US National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) Global Summary of the Day (GSOD) station database, for a range of statistics at annual to daily time
scale, including extremes. A method for assimilating station data into the gridded dataset was developed and tested, and was used to merge available station data into the full 1979‐2008 gridded dataset. Value‐added products such as annual, monthly and daily statistics, extreme values and potential evaporation were calculated from the dataset.

The data are daily on a 0.1deg grid for Africa, north of 10S latitude. The data are available in netcdf format with one file per variable per year.

The following variables are available:

  • prec: daily total precipitation (kg/m2/s)
  • dswrf: daily average downward surface shortwave radiation (W/m2)
  • dlwrf: daily average downward surface longwave radiation (W/m2)
  • shum: daily average specific humidity at 2m (kg/kg)
  • pres: daily average surface pressure (kg/kg)
  • tmin: daily minimum temperature (C)
  • tmax: daily maximum temperature (C)
  • wind: daily average wind speed at 10m (m/s)

    Data Access

    The dataset is freely available but we ask that you leave a few details about yourself and how you intend to use the dataset. Also, please cite the reference below if you use the data.

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    Feb 8 2013
    New variables (prec, dswrf, dlwrf, pres) added and existing variables updated to latest version.
    Sep 21 2012
    Dataset uploaded to webserver...


    Chaney, N., J. Sheffield, G. Villarini, E. F. Wood, 2014: Development of a High Resolution Gridded Daily Meteorological Data Set over Sub-Saharan Africa: Spatial Analysis of Trends in Climate Extremes. J. Climate, accepted.

    Sheffield, J., G. Goteti, and E. F. Wood, 2006: Development of a 50-yr high-resolution global dataset of meteorological forcings for land surface modeling, J. Climate, 19 (13), 3088-3111


  • Drought.

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