Norwegian Service Centre for Climate Modelling -> Data Archive -> ERA-40




The ERA-40 dataset comprise a large amount of reanalysis data covering years 1957-2002, created by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

A comprehensive description of the ERA-40 dataset can be found at Specifically, the archive plan contains the full description of which variables and resolutions are available. The ERA-40 Data Availability page gives imortant information on how the data can be retrieved, data quality considerations and about a possible rerun of a part of the period. To get at the actual data, a web interface for data retrieval (requiring special access rights) is also available.

Data available at NoSerC

A part of the ERA-40 dataset is available on the NoSerC storage system on Gridur/Embla. The most important parameters are shown in the table below:
Parameters at 23 pressure levels Surface or single level parameters
Specific humidity
10 metre U wind component
10 metre V wind component
2 metre temperature
Mean sea level pressure
Sea Surface Temperature
Sea-ice fraction
Convective precipitation
Large scale precipitation

Other parameters are also avalable. For details, consult the MetaMod application.

The storage capacity available for NoSerC is not large enough to accomodate the full ERA40 dataset. As long as we have the neccessary capasity, we will offer to transfer more of the dataset to the NoSerC storage system, if any need for this arise.

As an alternative to storing data permanently on Gridur/Embla, we could also offer assistance in copying data just when they are needed.

ERA-40 Overview

The following summary gives a short overview of the whole ERA-40 dataset:

The data comprise analysis and forcast fields according to the following scheme:
Analysis 00 06 12 18
Forcast +3

Not all of these fields will be retained in the long run. Analysis and the +6 hour forcast data will be retained in full. Also, forcast data will be retained so that a time resolution of three hours will be available. Which of the forcast fields in addition to the +6 hour fields that will be kept, will depend on validation studies and user requirements. Only a limited set of variables will be archived from the ten-day (+240) forcasts.

The data will be archived in the T159 horizontal resolution (based on spherical harmonics) or the corresponding N80 gaussian grid (1.125 degrees across grid cells). The data retrieval software include options to reduce the horizontal resolution, and also to convert the grid to a regular latitude/longitude grid.

Upper air variables

Upper air data is available in 60 vertical model levels and 23 pressure levels (interpolated from the model levels). The upper air data comprise the following variables:
Standard upper air fields
geopotential vorticity cloud liquid water content
temperature divergence cloud ice water content
specific humidity relative humidity cloud cover
vertical velocity ozone mass mixing ratio potential vorticity

Additional accumulated fields
updraught mass flux Short wave radiative tendency
downdraught mass flux Long wave radiative tendency
updraught detrainment rate Clear sky short wave radiative tendency
downdraught detrainment rate Clear sky long wave radiative tendency
total precipitation profile u tendency
turbulent diffusion coefficient for heat v tendency
T tendency 
q tendency

Surface variables

The surface or single level fields (at N80 gaussian resolution) comprise the following variables:
sea surface temperature sea ice fraction (1 = full ice, 0 = no ice)
surface geopotential total column water
total column water vapour soil temperature level 1
soil temperature level 2 soil temperature level 3
soil temperature level 4 soil moisture level 1 (volumetric) 
soil moisture level 2 (volumetric) soil moisture level 3 (volumetric)
soil moisture level 4 (volumetric) snow depth
large-scale precipitation (accum.) convective precipitation (accum.)
snowfall (accum.) boundary layer dissipation (accum.)
surface sensible heat flux (accum.) surface latent heat flux (accum.)
Charnock parameter  mean sea level pressure
standard deviation of orography anisotropy of orography
angle of sub-grid scale orography slope of sub-grid scale orography
total cloud cover 10 metre eastward wind component
10 metre northward wind component 2 metre temperature
2 metre dewpoint downward surface solar radiation (accum.)
land/sea mask surface roughness
albedo (climate)  downward surface thermal radiation (accum.)
surface solar radiation (accum.) surface thermal radiation (accum.)
top solar radiation (accum.) top thermal radiation (accum.)
eastward component of turbulent stress (accum.) northward component of turbulent stress (accum.)
evaporation (accum.) low cloud cover
medium cloud cover high cloud cover
latitudinal component of gravity wave stress (accum.) meridional component of gravity wave stress (accum.)
gravity wave dissipation (accum.) skin reservoir content
maximum 2m temperature since last post-processing step minimum 2m temperature since last post-processing step
runoff (accum.) total column ozone
instantaneous eastward component of turbulent stress instantaneous northward component of turbulent stress
instantaneous surface heat flux instantaneous moisture flux (evaporation)
log. surface roughness length (m) for heat skin temperature
convective snowfall (accum.) large-scale snowfall (accum.)
forecast albedo forecast surface roughness
forecast log. surface roughness length (m) for heat low vegetation cover
high vegetation cover low vegetation type (table index)
high vegetation type (table index) snow temperature
snow albedo snow density
sea ice temperature layer 1 sea ice temperature layer 2
sea ice temperature layer 3 sea ice temperature layer 4
boundary layer height sunshine duration since last post-processing step
wind gusts at 10 m large-scale precipitation fraction (accum.)
top solar radiation clear sky (accum.) top thermal radiation clear sky (accum.)
surface solar radiation clear sky (accum.) surface thermal radiation clear sky (accum.)
snow evaporation (accum.) snow melt (accum.)

Ocean-wave data

Ocean-wave data generated by wave analysis and the coupled wave-model forcasts, together with some gridded altimeter data from the ERS-1 and ERS-2 satelites, are avalable for the following variables at 1.5/1.5 latitude/longitude grid:
significant wave height mean wave direction
peak period of 1d spectra mean wave period
coefficient of drag with waves significant height of wind waves
mean direction of wind waves mean period of wind waves
significant height of primary swell mean direction of primary swell
mean period of primary swell mean square slope of waves
components of the 2D wave spectra mean wave period from 1st moment
mean wave period from 2nd moment wave spectral directional width
mean wave period from 1st moment of wind waves mean wave period from 2nd moment of wind waves
wave spectral directional width of wind waves mean wave period from 1st moment of swell
mean wave period from 2nd moment of swell wave spectral directional width of swell
10m wind speed modified by wave model gridded ERS altimeter wave height6
gridded corrected ERS altimeter wave height6 gridded ERS altimeter range relative correction6


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