Other Grid Types: NCEP Reanalysis2 Main Page | Pressure Level Data | Surface Data | Gaussian Grid Data | Spectral Coefficents Data

NCEP-DOE Reanalysis 2: Surface Grids

Brief Description:

  • NCEP-DOE Reanalysis 2 is an improved version of the NCEP Reanalysis I model that fixed errors and updated paramterizations of of physical processes

Temporal Coverage:

  • 4-times and monthly values for 1979/01/01 to 2021/03/31 .

Spatial Coverage:

  • 2.5-degree latitude x 2.5-degree longitude global grid (144x73).
  • 90N - 90S, 0E - 357.5E


  • Surface or columnar total.

Update Schedule:

  • Updates adding the previous year's data occur during the first quarter of the next.

Download/Plot Data: (Download Issues)

Variable Statistic Level Download File Create Plot/Subset
Precipitable water 4-times Daily Values Surface See list plot
Precipitable water Daily Mean Surface See list plot
Precipitable water Monthly Mean Surface pr_wtr.eatm.mon.mean.nc plot
Pressure 4-times Daily Values Surface See list plot
Pressure Daily Mean Surface See list plot
Pressure Monthly Mean Surface pres.sfc.mon.mean.nc plot
Mean Sea level pressure 4-times Daily Values Sea level See list plot
Mean Sea level pressure Daily Mean Sea level See list plot
Mean Sea level pressure Monthly Mean Sea Level mslp.mon.mean.nc plot
Surface height (time invariant) * Surface hgt.sfc.nc plot
Land-sea mask (time invariant) * Surface land.nc plot

Usage Restrictions:

  • None

Detailed Description:

  • The NCEP-DOE Reanalysis 2 project is using a state-of-the-art analysis/forecast system to perform data assimilation using past data from 1979 through the previous year. A large subset of this data is available from PSL in its original 4 times daily format and as daily averages.


  • Bad MSLP data in 2004 NetCDF files. The MSLP data in the NetCDF files representing 2004 values that were added to our archives in early April, 2004, were done incorrectly. The source data from NCEP were fine; it was a processing error here. This was corrected late on 2005/06/23. If you have downloaded 2004 MSLP data from us at any of the three temporal frequencies, you are strongly urged to reacquire the data.
  • Bad skin temperatures in 1982. The skin temperature (variable name skt) for 1982 had bad data. These data were updated late on 2003/05/14 based on new GRIB file from NCEP. All three temporal frequencies were affected and thus updated.
  • Note:  § The skt.sfc files contain skin temperature as described in the March, 1996 BAMS article. As such, over land and sea ice, the temperature is a prognostic variable. Over open water, the skin temperature is fixed at its initial value; i.e., the Reynolds SST as seen by the model. The Reynolds' SST analyses were done weekly and the reconstructed SST done monthly. The analyses were linearly interpolated to daily values which were used for all four analyses.
  • hgt.sfc is time-invariant.

Related File Naming & Structure Information:

File Names:

  • var.yyyy.nc   (In directory: /Datasets/ncep.reabnalysis2/surface/)
  • var.yyyy.nc   (In directory: /Datasets/ncep.reabnalysis2.dailyavgs/surface/)
  • var.mon.mean.nc   (In directory: /Datasets/ncep.reabnalysis2.derived/surface/)

Dataset Format and Size:

  • PSL standard NetCDF 311 Mbyte file for each monthly file (packed).
  • PSL standard NetCDF 30 Mbyte file for each long term mean file (packed).
  • By anonymous FTP:
    • 4x daily data are available from ftp.cdc.noaa.gov in /Datasets/ncep.reanalysis2/surface/.
    • The 4x data files are quite large, so you may only be able to download them if you have a fast network connection.
    • Daily averages are available from ftp.cdc.noaa.gov in /Datasets/ncep.reanalysis2.dailyavgs/surface/.
    • The data are divided by variable and year into separate files
    • There are 1,796files currently
    • Files are 5 to 52 Mbytes per variable per year
    • Current total of 45 Gbytes for 4xDaily and 11 Gbytes for daily averages

    Missing Data:

    • None.


  • Please note: If you acquire NCEP/DOE 2 Reanalysis data products from PSL, we ask that you acknowledge us in your use of the data. This may be done by including text such as NCEP/DOE 2 Reanalysis data provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSL, 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 PSL to justify keeping the NCEP/DOE 2 Reanalysis data set freely available online in the future. Thank you!


Original Source:

  • NOAA National Centers for Environmental Predictions


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