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Climate Data Guide - An Informed Guide to Climate Data Sets Featuring Community Generated Expert Guidance
Entry ID: CDG
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Abstract: The Climate Data Guide is an interactive website that enables researchers and students to identify and make effective use of climate data sets by providing a focal point for expert-user guidance, commentary, and questions on the strengths and limitations of selected observational datasets and their applicability to model evaluations. It is a growing community resource established in October, 2011.

Which data are the most appropriate?

The ins and outs of the data used for climate variability and climate change research. The expert-user guidance, a unique feature of the Climate Data Guide website, is a valuable basis for choosing among multiple data sets of a particular variable. As such, this site offers much more than a simple listing of a dataset's spatial coverage, length of record, file format, etc. While we include guidance on file format conversions, commentary on data-model comparison strategies, and links to download sites, it is not in our mission or the scope of our resources to host the data. Anyone is welcome to read this site, although it is primarily aimed at climate researchers and other global change scientists who seek a starting place for climate data analysis. NCAR's Climate Analysis Section produces this website with support from the National Science Foundation. CAS provides a data service through the Data Catalog. Please bear with us as we add more content; this site will grow with community input!


There are numerous methods to search the content. You may browse the dataset pages by navigating from the "Data Sets" menu at the top of the page. The Complete List provides a a listing of all pages describing the datasets in the Climate Data Guide, with summary information on variables, formats, domains, timestep, and contributing experts. There are options to refine your search using a number of filters (see Advanced Search menu). This site uses a flexible tagging system so that datasets are easily discoverable accross categories. For instance, sea ice concentration appears under Ocean and Cryosphere. However, some data sets such as Reanalyses, contain hundreds of variables and we have indexed only a handful of the popular variables in those data sets. In that case, look up the specific reanalysis that you are interested in to see if there are any discussions of specific variables in that reanalysis.


Each individual dataset page has a comments section, where as a registered and logged in user, you may post questions about the dataset, share your experiences using the dataset, or list publications that use the dataset. All comments will be signed with your authentic name (no pseudonyms or anonymous comments) and will be moderated. Questions will be answered as time permits, and we encourage dataset developers or other users to chime in with answers. If you wish, you may subscribe to receive email notifications of responses to your comments or questions. Comments are not intended to be full contributions of dataset descriptions - for that, see below. Short, "newsy" items about data set assessments in the recently published literature can be contributed to the "in brief" spotlight on the home page.


We need your help! The Climate Data Guide will only be as useful as the expert-user commentary we are able to post. If you are a dataset developer or frequent user, please consider taking some time to contribute. In addition to expanding this site and providing a valuable resource for others, your contributions will ensure your dataset's maximum visibility, increased citations, and appropriate scientific use. We particularly need commentary on datasets that are described in the peer-reviewed literature, publicly available, in-demand for climate model evaluation, regional to global in scale, and are of sufficient record length for climate change and climate variability studies. To contribute, see further details on the contributions page.

[Summary provided by NCAR.]

Related URL
Description: Access the Climate Data Guide.

Description: Search Climate Data Sets discussed in Climate Data Guide.

Description: Climate links for researchers.
Service Citation
Originators: Clara Deser, Aiguo Dai, John Fasullo, James Hurrell, Kevin Trenberth, and Dennis Shea
Title: Climate Data Guide - An Informed Guide to Climate Data Sets Featuring Community Generated Expert Guidance
Provider: National Center for Atmospheric Research
ISO Topic Category
Use Constraints
Terms of Use available at:
Service Provider
Climate Analysis Section, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Service Provider Personnel
Phone: 303-497-1359
Email: cdeser at
Contact Address:
PO Box 3000
City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80307-3000
Country: USA
Distribution Media
Distribution_Media: Online
Fees: No fees
Phone: 303-497-1359
Email: cdeser at
Contact Address:
PO Box 3000
City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80307-3000
Country: USA

Phone: (301) 614-6898
Fax: 301-614-5268
Email: Tyler.B.Stevens at
Contact Address:
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Global Change Master Directory
City: Greenbelt
Province or State: MD
Postal Code: 20771
Country: USA
Creation and Review Dates
SERF Creation Date: 2011-11-07
SERF Last Revision Date: 2012-02-15
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