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ISLSCP II CRU05 Climate Time Series for Global Land Areas, 1986-1995
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Revision date: May 31, 2011


This data set contains monthly climate time series data created by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, U.K., for every year covering the period 1986 to 1995. CRU05 identifies these as version 5 data. The data comprise a suite of six climate elements: precipitation, mean temperature, diurnal temperature range, wet-day frequency, vapor pressure, and cloud cover. There are 13 files in this data set provided at 0.5 and 1.0 degree spatial resolutions.

Additional Documentation:

This data set is one of the products of the International Satellite Land-Surface Climatology Project, Initiative II (ISLSCP II) data collection which contains 50 global time series data sets for the ten-year period 1986 to 1995. A complete description of the data, it's derivation, acknowledgements, and references provided by the ISLSCP II Data Management Staff is included with this data set as a companion file named  1_cru_monthly_time_series_doc.pdf.

ISLSCP II is a consistent collection of data sets that were compiled from existing data sources and algorithms, and were designed to satisfy the needs of modelers and investigators of the global carbon, water and energy cycle. The data were acquired from a number of U.S. and international agencies, universities, and institutions. The data and documentation have undergone two peer reviews.

ISLSCP is one of several projects of Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) [] and has the lead role in addressing land-atmosphere interactions -- process modeling, data retrieval algorithms, field experiment design and execution, and the development of global data sets.

Related Data Sets:

Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows:

New, M., P.D. Jones, and M. Hulme. 2011. ISLSCP II CRU05 Climate Time Series for Global Land Areas, 1986-1995. In Hall, Forrest G., G. Collatz, B. Meeson, S. Los, E. Brown de Colstoun, and D. Landis (eds.). ISLSCP Initiative II Collection.  Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1014

File Information:

The archived data sets for ISLSCP II have been organized by categories. This data set is in the Near-Surface Meteorology category.

Data Set Spatial Extent: Global gridded

Westernmost Longitude: -180 W

Easternmost Longitude: 180 E

Northernmost Latitude: 90 N

Southernmost Latitude: -90 S

Projection: Geographic

Data Set Spatial Resolution:  1.0 degree  and 0.5 degree in both latitude and longitude

Data Set Temporal Extent: 1986 through 1995

Data File Format:

All of the data files (*.zip) are in standard ESRI ArcGIS ArcInfo ASCII grid format.  The file format consists of numerical fields of varying length, which are delimited by a single space and arranged in columns and rows. The files in this data set are provided at 1.0 degree and 0.5 degree spatial resolutions and contain the following numbers of columns and rows:

One degree (1d): 360 columns by 180 rows
Half degree (hd): 720 columns by 360 rows

NOTE: The 1.0 x 1.0 degree product is for browse use only. These data files are averaged from the original 0.5 x 0.5 degree pixels. Thus the data values at specific pixels are not exact. Use this data with caution and refer to the original half-degree data files for specific information.

File Naming Conventions: 12 files where variable represents one of the six variables listed in the table below, and Xdeg is 1deg, for 1.0 degree or hdeg, for 0.5 degree spatial resolution in both latitude and longitude. The 0.5 degree data files (hdeg) also contain differences files (*.dif) which have the  points in the original 0.5 degree files that didn't match the ISLSCP Initiative II Land/Water mask.

Climate Variables

Variable AbbreviationClimate Variables
cloud_covrCloud Cover
diurnal_tmpDiurnal Temperature Range
temp_meanMean Temperature
vapor_presVapor Pressure
wetday_frqWet Day Frequency

The 13 data files include 12 compressed (*.zip) files and 1 changemap file, named as follows:

  1. - 120 *.asc files, dated 198601 through 199512, which results in twelve files per year, one per month for the years 1986 through 1995.
  2. - 240 files (120 *.asc and 120 *.dif) - same date range.
  3. - 120 *.asc files, same date range.
  4. - 240 files (120 *.asc and 120 *.dif) - same date range.
  5. - 120 *.asc files, same date range.
  6. - 240 files (120 *.asc and 120 *.dif) - same date range.
  7. - 120 *.asc files, same date range.
  8. - 240 files (120 *.asc and 120 *.dif) - same date range.
  9. - 120 *.asc files, same date range
  10. - 240 files (120 *.asc and 120 *.dif) - same date range
  11. - 120 *.asc files, same date range.
  12. - 240 files (120 *.asc and 120 *.dif) - same date range.
  13. cru5_climate_hd_changemap.asc: A gridded ASCII file which shows the results of applying the 0.5 degree ISLSCP II land/water mask to the 1986-1995 time series: all points added ("1"), all points unchanged ("0"), and all points removed ("-1"). These files are only available for the original 0.5 degree data set.

Please refer to 1_cru_monthly_climate_doc.pdf and 0_cru_readme.txt  for a more complete description of the data files and naming conventions.


New, M., M. Hulme and P. Jones (1999). "Representing twentieth-century space-time climate variability. Part I: Development of a 1961-90 mean monthly terrestrial climatology." Journal of Climate 12: 829-856. doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1999)012<0829:RTCSTC>2.0.CO;2

New, M., M. Hulme and P. Jones (2000). "Representing twentieth-century space-time climate variability. Part II: Development of 1901-1996 monthly grids of terrestrial surface climate." Journal of Climate 13(13): 2217-2238. doi:10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<2217:RTCSTC>2.0.CO;2

Data Access:

These data are available through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC)  [].

Data Archive Contact Information:

Telephone: +1 (865) 241-3952