A comprehensive series of global datasets for land-atmosphere models has been collected, formatted to a common grid, and released on a set of CD-ROMs. This paper describes the motivation for and the contents of the dataset.

In June of 1992, an interdisciplinary earth science workshop was convened in Columbia, Maryland, to assess progress in land-atmosphere research, specifically in the areas of models, satellite data algorithms, and field experiments. At the workshop, representatives of the land-atmosphere modeling community defined a need for global datasets to prescribe boundary conditions, initialize state variables, and provide near-surface meteorological and radiative forcings for their models. The International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project (ISLSCP), a part of the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment, worked with the Distributed Active Archive Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center to bring the required datasets together in a usable format. The data have since been released on a collection of CD-ROMs.

The datasets on the CD-ROMs are grouped under the following headings: vegetation; hydrology and soils; snow, ice, and oceans; radiation and clouds; and near-surface meteorology. All datasets cover the period 1987–88, and all but a few are spatially continuous over the earth's land surface. All have been mapped to a common 1° × 1° equal-angle grid. The temporal frequency for most of the datasets is monthly. A few of the near-surface meteorological parameters are available both as six-hourly values and as monthly means.

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*NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland.

+NASA/GSFC-DAAC, Greenbelt, Maryland.

#NASA/GSFC, HSTX, Greenbelt, Maryland.

@Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

&LERTS-BPI, Toulouse, France.

**NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland.

++NASA/GSFC, SSAI, Greenbelt, Maryland.

##NOAA/NMC, Camp Springs, Maryland.

@@International GEWEX Project Office, Washington, D.C.