WATCH Forcing Data (WFD) - 20th Century Tair (air temperature) 1901-2001

The WATCH Forcing data is a twentieth century meteorological forcing dataset for land surface and hydrological models. It consists of three/six-hourly states of the weather for global half-degree land grid points. It was generated as part of the EU FP 6 project "WATCH" (WATer and global CHange") which ran from 2007-2011. The data was generated in 2 tranches with slightly different methodology: 1901-1957 and 1958-2001, but generally the dataset can be considered as continuous. More details regarding the generation process can be found in the associated WATCH technical report and paper in J. Hydrometeorology. To understand how the data grid is formed it is necessary to read the attached WFD-land-long-lat-z files either in NetCDF or DAT formats. The data covers land points only and excludes the Antarctica. Tair or air temperature is the 2m air temperature (instantaneous) measured in K at 6 hourly resolution and 0.5 x 0.5 degrees spatial resolution.

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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Supporting documentation

Format of the Dataset : netCDF

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Please reference the use of the WATCH forcing data in any work published using

Please note that these data are based on climate reanalysis data, plus a spatial interpolation (from one-degree to half-degree), elevation correction and monthly-correction based on gridded observations. As such the WATCH Forcing data are designed for use in modelling (e.g. hydrological modelling) and for where good meteorological observations are not readily available.


Study area
Temporal extent
1901-01-01    to    2001-12-31

Supplemental information

Other useful information regarding this dataset:

Weedon, G.P.; Gomes, S.; Viterbo, P.; Shuttleworth, W.J.; Blyth, E.; Osterle, H.; Adam, J.C.; Bellouin, N.; Boucher, O.; Best, M.. 2011 Creation of the WATCH forcing data and its use to assess global and regional reference crop evaporation over land during the twentieth century. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 12 (5). 823-848.
WATCH Technical Report No. 22 - THE WATCH FORCING DATA 1958-2001: A METEOROLOGICAL FORCING DATASET FOR LAND SURFACE- AND HYDROLOGICAL-MODELS. Author names: Weedon, G.P., Gomes, S., Viterbo, P., Osterle, H., Adam, J.C., Bellouin, N., Boucher, O., and Best, M. Date: February 2010


These data were created as part of the EU FP6 project WATCH which was coordinated by NERC-CEH and ran from 2007-2011. The data were generated in two tranches according to time interval. The data from 1958-2001 were based on ECMWF (European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting) "ERA-40" reanalysis data via interpolation, elevation correction and monthly bias correction from gridded observations. The data from 1901-1957 were created via re-ordering of the ERA-40 reanalysis one year at a time. For full details of the process see the WATCH technical report No 22 and Weedon (2011, J. Hydrometeorology).

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Point Of Contact
Warnaars, T.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford
OX10 8BB
United Kingdom
Environmental Information Data Centre
Environmental Information Data Centre


Spatial representation type
Spatial reference system
WGS 84


Topic categories
Climatology / Meteorology / Atmosphere
Other keywords
land surface
Other keywords
Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions
Reynard Section
Discipline keywords
Land surface modelling
Place keywords
Temporal keywords
Theme keywords
Atmospheric conditions
Meteorological geographical features

Dataset identifiers



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