DOI: 10.1175/jtech-d-11-00103.1 ISSN:

An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network-Daily Database

Matthew J. Menne, Imke Durre, Russell S. Vose, Byron E. Gleason, Tamara G. Houston
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Ocean Engineering


A database is described that has been designed to fulfill the need for daily climate data over global land areas. The dataset, known as Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN)-Daily, was developed for a wide variety of potential applications, including climate analysis and monitoring studies that require data at a daily time resolution (e.g., assessments of the frequency of heavy rainfall, heat wave duration, etc.). The dataset contains records from over 80 000 stations in 180 countries and territories, and its processing system produces the official archive for U.S. daily data. Variables commonly include maximum and minimum temperature, total daily precipitation, snowfall, and snow depth; however, about two-thirds of the stations report precipitation only. Quality assurance checks are routinely applied to the full dataset, but the data are not homogenized to account for artifacts associated with the various eras in reporting practice at any particular station (i.e., for changes in systematic bias).

Daily updates are provided for many of the station records in GHCN-Daily. The dataset is also regularly reconstructed, usually once per week, from its 20+ data source components, ensuring that the dataset is broadly synchronized with its growing list of constituent sources. The daily updates and weekly reprocessed versions of GHCN-Daily are assigned a unique version number, and the most recent dataset version is provided on the GHCN-Daily website for free public access. Each version of the dataset is also archived at the NOAA/National Climatic Data Center in perpetuity for future retrieval.

More from our Archive