“Climate change policies cannot be the frosting on the cake of development; they must be baked into the recipe of growth and social development.”


Global Climate Data


Explore historical data derived from three sources, all quality-controlled by leading institutions in the field. Also explore future projections derived from global circulation models (GCMS), DOWNSCALED under two scenarios that describe future economic growth and energy use. These are the most comprehensive physically-based models of climate change available and used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report.

What can you do with these data?

Datasets in the portal are available for sites, countries, continents, and major river basins of the world. The analysis tools allow you to map, chart, query, and compare data across historical and future time periods with the click of a button. (Explore this data collection now)

You can also preview the extensive new downscaled (50km resolution) dataset which we will be providing in early 2012.

Common questions you can answer using the climate data on the portal:

About the Data

The climate data incorporated in the portal includes historical and projected future changes. The World Bank worked with a number of organizations to make this data accessible through the portal. Click here (PDF 0.3MB) for detail document on metadata.

Historical Data Sources

Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) is the source of the station-level data. GHCN provides quality-controlled, observational datasets for temperature and rainfall values from thousands of weather stations worldwide. GHCN also provides derivative products including monthly and long term historical climatologies. Tools such as the “Historical Variability Analysis Tool” were developed by the World Bank to allow users to investigate the historical variability in precipitation and temperature at various time scales (inter-annual, decadal, and long-term linear trend) over the 20th century near a user-selected location.

National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) developed tools to evaluate how well models capture the historical seasonal cycle of temperature and rainfall. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) combined satellite and weather station information. In the portal, these datasets have been modified to provide user-friendly information on rainfall and temperature and regridded to match the Global Climate Models.

Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) provided access to the CRU TS 2.1 Global Climate Dataset. The datasets were produced by CRU and reformatted by IWMI. The CRU TS 2.1 Global Climate Dataset is comprised of 1224 monthly time-series of climate variables, including temperature and precipitation, for the period 1901-2002, covering the global land surface, excluding Antarctica, at 0.5 degrees resolution. The datasets were downloaded from the CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information.

Future Climate sources

Projected changes are derived from Global Circulation Models - the most comprehensive physically-based models of climate change available and referenced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third and Fourth Assessment Reports.

Datasets presented in the portal are derived from 15 global circulation models (GCMs). Because the resolution of these GCMs varies, they were re-gridded to a common 2° grid. Datasets were processed for the portal by the Climate Systems Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town. The processing included identifying and cleaning problem fields where possible; regridding the data files to a common 2° grid; calculating decadal and 20-year climatologies for monthly precipitation and mean surface air temperature; calculating derived variables; calculating multi-model means, 10th and 90th percentiles for future climatologies; and post-processing data into a GIS format. Data within the portal can be queried at several levels, including country, region, continent, basin, and 3x3° grid aggregations.


The World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP's) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) produced a multi-model dataset, which was referenced in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third and the Fourth Assessment Reports. The outputs from the CMIP3 have been made available through the IPCC and its Data Distribution Centre.