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Global Soil Types, 0.5-Degree Grid (Modified Zobler)


A global data set of soil types is available at 0.5-degree latitude by 0.5-degree longitude resolution. There are 106 soil units, based on Zobler's (1986) assessment of the FAO/UNESCO Soil Map of the World. This data set is a conversion of the Zobler 1-degree resolution version to a 0.5-degree resolution. The resolution of the data set was not actually increased. Rather, the 1-degree squares were divided into four 0.5-degree squares with the necessary adjustment of continental boundaries and islands. The computer code and documentation used to convert the original 1-degree data to 0.5-degree are available as a companion file. A JPG image of the data is provided in this document.

The 0.5-degree soil type data in this data set are provided in three formats: the original ASCII format, GRID ASCII, and ARC/INFO EXPORT (*.e00). Separate companion files contain the soil type and continent codes used in the data set. The GIS format information is contained in the companion readme file [].

Global Soil Types

Image of 106 global soil types available at 0.5-degree by 0.5-degree resolution.

Additional documentation from Zobler's assessment of FAO soil units is available from the NASA Center for Scientific Information.

Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows (citation revised on February 4, 2003):

Post, W. M., and L. Zobler. 2000. Global Soil Types, 0.5-Degree Grid (Modified Zobler). Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/540.


Post, W. M., A. W. King, and S. D. Wullschleger. 1997. Historical variations in terrestrial biospheric carbon storage. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 11:99-109.

Post, W. M., King, A. W., and S. D. Wullschleger. 1996. Soil organic matter models and global estimates of soil organic carbon. pp. 201-222. In (P. Smith, J. Smith, and D. Powlson, eds., Evaluation of Soil Organic Matter Models Using Existing Long-Term Datasets, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.

Webb, R. S., C. E. Rosenzweig, and E. R. Levine. 1993. Specifying land surface characteristics in general circulation models: Soil profile data set and derived water-holding capacities. Global Biogoechemical Cycles 7(1):97-108.

Zobler, L. 1986. A World Soil File for Global Climate Modelling. NASA Technical Memorandum 87802. NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Document Information:

May 12, 2000 (Note: Citation revised on February 4, 2003)

Document Review Date:

May 12, 2000

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