Some PSD datasets and products are not up-to-date due to a system problem. We are working on a fix.
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NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 1: Summary

We have transitioned the data files from netCDF3 to netCDF4-classic format on Monday Oct 20th. As a result, the files will be compressed instead of being packed with a scale and offset. As with any netCDF4 file, the NetCDF library will perform the uncompression. We expect the files to be read faster, depending on the application you are using. Values may differ slightly because of precision issues. Please let us know if you run into any problems after first reading our netCDF4 doc. We are also changing the time units to use 1800 as the origin year for udunits. This should prove easier for users. The exception to the above are the spectral coefficients files, which are still packed.

Brief Description:

  • NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 1

Temporal Coverage:

  • 4-times daily, daily and monthly values for 1948/01/01 to present
  • Long term monthly means, derived from data for years 1981 - 2010

Spatial Coverage:

  • Global Grids


  • 17 Pressure level and 28 sigma levels. N/A

Update Schedule:

  • Daily
We have separated the data documentation into seven sections:

Usage Restrictions:

  • None

Detailed Description:

  • The NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 1 project is using a state-of-the-art analysis/forecast system to perform data assimilation using past data from 1948 to the present. A large subset of this data is available from PSD in its original 4 times daily format and as daily averages. However, the data from 1948-1957 is a little different, in the regular (non-Gaussian) gridded data. That data was done at 8 times daily in the model, because the inputs available in that era were available at 3Z, 9Z, 15Z, and 21Z, whereas the 4x daily data has been available at 0Z, 6Z, 12Z, and 18Z. These latter times were forecasted and the combined result for this early era is 8x daily. The local ingestion process took only the 0Z, 6Z, 12Z, and 18Z forecasted values, and thus only those were used to make the daily time series and monthly means here.


Related File Naming & Structure Information:

File Names:

  • See individual sections. Data in /Datasets/ncep.reanalysis/, Datasets/ncep.reanalysis.dailyavgs/, /Datasets/ncep.reanalysis.derived/
  • Data can be ftp'd from

Dataset Format and Size:

  • PSD standard NetCDF most are (packed).
  • If you would like datasets on a media such as tape, you will need to get them from another institution. NCAR (link) provides such a service for their datasets.

Missing Data:

  • Missing data is flagged with a value of 32767s or 9.36e36f..


  • For dataset source, please cite:Kalnay et al.,The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77, 437-470, 1996.
  • Please note: If you acquire NCEP Reanalysis data products from PSD, we ask that you acknowledge us in your use of the data. This may be done by including text such as NCEP Reanalysis data provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA, from their Web site at in any documents or publications using these data. We would also appreciate receiving a copy of the relevant publications. This will help PSD to justify keeping the NCEP Reanalysis data set freely available online in the future. Thank you!


Original Source:


  • Physical Sciences Division: Data Management
    325 Broadway
    Boulder, CO 80305-3328