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Daily High-Resolution Temperature and Precipitation Fields for the Contiguous United States from 1951 to Present

Imke DurreaNOAA/National Centers for Environmental Information, Asheville, North Carolina

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Anthony ArguezaNOAA/National Centers for Environmental Information, Asheville, North Carolina

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Carl J. Schreck IIIbCooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies, North Carolina State University, Asheville, North Carolina

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Michael F. SquirescSaint Louis, Missouri

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Russell S. VoseaNOAA/National Centers for Environmental Information, Asheville, North Carolina

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Abstract

In this paper, a new set of daily gridded fields and area averages of temperature and precipitation is introduced that covers the contiguous United States (CONUS) from 1951 to present. With daily updates and a grid resolution of approximately 0.0417° (nominally 5 km), the product, named nClimGrid-Daily, is designed to be used particularly in climate monitoring and other applications that rely on placing event-specific meteorological patterns into a long-term historical context. The gridded fields were generated by interpolating morning and midnight observations from the Global Historical Climatology Network–Daily dataset using thin-plate smoothing splines. Additional processing steps limit the adverse effects of spatial and temporal variations in station density, observation time, and other factors on the quality and homogeneity of the fields. The resulting gridded data provide smoothed representations of the point observations, although the accuracy of estimates for individual grid points and days can be sensitive to local spatial variability and the ability of the available observations and interpolation technique to capture that variability. The nClimGrid-Daily dataset is therefore recommended for applications that require the aggregation of estimates in space and/or time, such as climate monitoring analyses at regional to national scales.

Significance Statement

Many applications that use historical weather observations require data on a high-resolution grid that are updated daily. Here, a new dataset of daily temperature and precipitation for 1951–present is introduced that was created by interpolating irregularly spaced observations to a regular grid with a spacing of 0.0417° across the contiguous United States. Compared to other such datasets, this product is particularly suitable for monitoring climate and drought on a daily basis because it was processed so as to limit artificial variations in space and time that may result from changes in the types and distribution of observations used.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Imke Durre, imke.durre@noaa.gov

Abstract

In this paper, a new set of daily gridded fields and area averages of temperature and precipitation is introduced that covers the contiguous United States (CONUS) from 1951 to present. With daily updates and a grid resolution of approximately 0.0417° (nominally 5 km), the product, named nClimGrid-Daily, is designed to be used particularly in climate monitoring and other applications that rely on placing event-specific meteorological patterns into a long-term historical context. The gridded fields were generated by interpolating morning and midnight observations from the Global Historical Climatology Network–Daily dataset using thin-plate smoothing splines. Additional processing steps limit the adverse effects of spatial and temporal variations in station density, observation time, and other factors on the quality and homogeneity of the fields. The resulting gridded data provide smoothed representations of the point observations, although the accuracy of estimates for individual grid points and days can be sensitive to local spatial variability and the ability of the available observations and interpolation technique to capture that variability. The nClimGrid-Daily dataset is therefore recommended for applications that require the aggregation of estimates in space and/or time, such as climate monitoring analyses at regional to national scales.

Significance Statement

Many applications that use historical weather observations require data on a high-resolution grid that are updated daily. Here, a new dataset of daily temperature and precipitation for 1951–present is introduced that was created by interpolating irregularly spaced observations to a regular grid with a spacing of 0.0417° across the contiguous United States. Compared to other such datasets, this product is particularly suitable for monitoring climate and drought on a daily basis because it was processed so as to limit artificial variations in space and time that may result from changes in the types and distribution of observations used.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Imke Durre, imke.durre@noaa.gov
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