TerraClimate: Monthly Climate and Climatic Water Balance for Global Terrestrial Surfaces, University of Idaho (IDAHO_EPSCOR/TERRACLIMATE)

TerraClimate is a dataset of monthly climate and climatic water balance for
global terrestrial surfaces. It uses climatically aided interpolation,
combining high-spatial resolution climatological normals from the
WorldClim dataset, with coarser spatial
resolution, but time-varying data from
CRU Ts4.0 and the
Japanese 55-year Reanalysis (JRA55).
Conceptually, the procedure applies interpolated time-varying anomalies
from CRU Ts4.0/JRA55 to the high-spatial resolution climatology of
WorldClim to create a high-spatial resolution dataset that covers a broader
temporal record.

Temporal information is inherited from CRU Ts4.0 for most global land
surfaces for temperature, precipitation, and vapor pressure. However,
JRA55 data is used for regions where CRU data had zero climate stations
contributing (including all of Antarctica, and parts of Africa,
South America, and scattered islands). For primary climate variables of
temperature, vapor pressure, and precipitation, the University of Idaho
provides additional data on the number of stations (between 0 and 8) that
contributed to the CRU Ts4.0 data used by TerraClimate. JRA55 was used
exclusively for solar radiation and wind speeds.

TerraClimate additionally produces monthly surface water balance datasets
using a water balance model that incorporates reference evapotranspiration,
precipitation, temperature, and interpolated plant extractable soil water
capacity. A modified Thornthwaite-Mather climatic water-balance model and
extractable soil water storage capacity data was used at a 0.5° grid from
Wang-Erlandsson et al. (2016).

Data Limitations:

  1. Long-term trends in data are inherited from parent datasets.
    TerraClimate should not be used directly for independent assessments of

  2. TerraClimate will not capture temporal variability at finer scales than
    parent datasets and thus is not able to capture variability in
    orographic precipitation ratios and inversions.

  3. The water balance model is very simple and does not account for
    heterogeneity in vegetation types or their physiological response to
    changing environmental conditions.

  4. Limited validation in data-sparse regions (e.g., Antarctica).

NameDescriptionGee UnitGee Scale
aetActual evapotranspiration, derived using a one-dimensional soil water balance modelmm0.1
defClimate water deficit, derived using a one-dimensional soil water balance modelmm0.1
pdsiPalmer Drought Severity Index0.01
petReference evapotranspiration (ASCE Penman-Montieth)mm0.1
prPrecipitation accumulationmm
roRunoff, derived using a one-dimensional soil water balance modelmm
soilSoil moisture, derived using a one-dimensional soil water balance modelmm0.1
sradDownward surface shortwave radiationW/m^20.1
sweSnow water equivalent, derived using a one-dimensional soil water balance modelmm
tmmnMinimum temperature°C0.1
tmmxMaximum temperature°C0.1
vapVapor pressurekPa0.001
vpdVapor pressure deficitkPa0.01
vsWind-speed at 10mm/s0.01


University of Idaho (producer, licensor)
Google Earth Engine (host)
STAC Version 0.6.0
Keywords climate, drought, evapotranspiration, geophysical, global, idaho, monthly, palmer, precipitation, runoff, temperature, vapor, wind
License proprietary
Temporal Extent 12/31/1957, 4:00:00 PM - now
Citation Abatzoglou, J.T., S.Z. Dobrowski, S.A. Parks, K.C. Hegewisch, 2018, Terraclimate, a high-resolution global dataset of monthly climate and climatic water balance from 1958-2015, Scientific Data 5:170191, [doi: 10.1038/sdata.2017.191](https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2017.191)
Type image_collection
GSD arc minutesm
Cadence month