ECAD gridded meteorological observations for Europe



This data set is only available for a restricted user group, please contact us if you want to access these data.

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Data access via file system: /data/icdc/atmosphere/ecad_eobs


ECAD is the acronym for European Climate Assessment & Data set, which is a daily, high-resolution data set of in-situ meteorological observations within Europe gridded into geographic projection. The observations comprise surface pressure, 2-m air temperature (mean, minimum, maximum), and precipitation and are from, in the mean time, over 3700 (for temperature) and over 9000 (for precipitation) observation stations.

Information about ECAD, the interpolation methods used and the approach to estimate the uncertainties are given in the references and on the ECAD web page.

We offer version 20.0e of the ECAD data set. After the improvement of the estimation of uncertainties by using 100-member ensemble calculations in version v19.0e, the main enhancement in v20.0e is that an additional data set is offered: the surface shortwave radiation flux.

Last update of this data set at ICDC: October 18 2019.

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Name Unit
2m air temperature (mean) °C
2m air temperature (minimum) °C
2m air temperature (maximum) °C
Rainfall estimate mm
Surface air pressure at sea level hPa
Surface downwelling shortwave radiation flux W/m² day

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Coverage, spatial and temporal resolution

Period and temporal resolution:

  • 1950-01-01 (Radiation: 1980-01-01) to 2019-07-31
  • Daily

Coverage and spatial resolution:

  • Europe, over land
  • Spatial resolution: 0.25° x 0.25°, cartesian grid
  • Geographic longitude: -40.375°E to 75.375°E
  • Geographic latitude: 25.375°N to 75.375°N
  • Dimension: 201 rows x 464 columns
  • Altitude: following terrain (except surface pressure)


  • netCDF

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Data quality

Every parameter of the ECAD data set comes with a separate uncertainty estimate. The uncertainty originates merely from the interpolation of the in situ observations. Uncertainties are particularly large in areas where the density of observations over space and/or time is low, and/or where strong gradients or differences exist between neighboring stations, e.g. in mountains.

In addition, the surface air pressure data set contains artifacts from the interpolation - possibly from the kriging radius used - which are not associated also with a larger uncertainty. Alo the precipitation data set seems to contain artifacts caused by missing data. It needs to be kept in mind that a precipitation of 0 mm is not associated with an uncertainty - or, in other words, there the uncertainty is 0 mm.

More details about the uncertainties can be found in the references. Illustrations about the differences between v19e an v20e can be found here.

The following links provide you with the list of stations used for the respective parameter:

mean temperature

minimum temperature

maximum temperature


air pressure

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ECA&D project team
KNMI, De Bilt, The Netherlands
email: eca (at) knmi.nl

Stefan Kern
ICDC / CEN / University of Hamburg
email: stefan.kern (at) uni-hamburg.de

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Data citation

When using the ECAD data set please cite as follows:

We acknowledge the E-OBS dataset from the EU-FP6 project UERRA (http://www.uerra.eu) and the data providers in the ECA&D project (https://www.ecad.eu), last access date: October 9 2019.


Cornes, R. C., van der Schrier, G., van den Besselaar, E. J. M., and Jones, P. D., 2018, An ensemble version of the E-OBS temperature and precipitation data sets. J. Geophys. Res. - Atmosphere, 123, 9391-9409, doi: 10.1029/2017JD028200.

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