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ClimateSA: historical and projected climate data for Mexico, Central and South America

The software, downloadable from this web page, can be used to estimate more than 50 monthly, seasonal, and annual variables, including many economically or biologically relevant variables such as growing and chilling degree days, heating and cooling degree days, Hargrave's moisture deficit and reference evaporation, beginning and end of the frost-free period, etc.

Historical data since 1901-2009 are based on the CRU-TS 3.1 dataset (Mitchell & Jones, 2005, Int J Climatol 25: 693-712) and has been updated to 2013 with CRU-TS 3.22. Future projections are based on 15 AOGCMs of the CMIP5 multimodel dataset corresponding to the IPCC Assessment Report 5 (2013) x 2 Emission Scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) x 3 standard time-slices (2020s, 2050s, 2080s). Average projected global warming increase (and likely range) for RCP4.5 are: +1.4°C (±0.5) by the 2050s; +1.8°C (±0.7) by the 2080s. For RCP8.5 they are: +2.0°C (±0.6) by the 2050s; +3.7°C (±0.9) by the 2080s.

The 15 AOGCMs are CanESM2, ACCESS1.0, IPSL-CM5A-MR, MIROC5, MPI-ESM-LR, CCSM4, HadGEM2-ES, CNRM-CM5, CSIRO Mk 3.6, GFDL-CM3, INM-CM4, MRI-CGCM3, MIROC-ESM, CESM1-CAM5, GISS-E2R and were chosen to represent all major clusters of similar AOGCMs by Knutti et al (2013). Within clusters, we selected models that had the highest validation statistics in their CMIP3 equivalents.

Video tutorial

Get started with these two video-tutorials. This first video explains the basic functionality of the software (1) interactive query of climate for locations, (2) processing spreadsheets of locations, (3) generating time series of climate. The second video explains in detail how to generate climate grids, and how to automate generation of multiple climate surfaces for a variety of climate variables, historical time periods and future projections.

Tutorial 1: Learn the basic operation of the software

For tutorials about generating gridded climate surfaces see: http://tinyurl.com/ClimateEU.

Download Links

This program does not require installation. Download, unzip, and double click the executable file ClimateAB.exe. The program should run on all versions of Windows. If you receive the error message "COMCTL32.OSX missing", you have to install these libraryfiles. The program also runs on Linux, Unix and Mac systems with the free software Wine or MacPorts/Wine).

Note that this is a beta version of ClimateSA that still undergoes some improvements to the code and model calibration. Please proceed with appropriate caution, and report any errors or suspicious estimates to help improve the work (andreas.hamann@ualberta.ca). Should we discover any major errors, a log of changes will be posted here.

ClimateSA v1.12 (2016-01-07 release) - covers South and Central America and includes AR5/CMIP5 projections and CRU 3.1/3.22 historical data
Legacy CMIP3 multimodel future projections corresponding to IPCC Assessment Report 4 (2007). To use them, unzip the archive and place the .gcm files into the GCMdat folder of ClimateSA.


Note that the ClimateSA package has not undergone peer-review yet. In the interim, reference usage like this: "Climate data has been generated with the ClimateSA v1.0 softwarepackage, available at http://tinyurl.com/ClimateSA, based on methodology described by Hamann et al. (2013)."

Hamann, A. and Wang, T., Spittlehouse, D.L., and Murdock, T.Q. 2013. A comprehensive, high-resolution database of historical and projected climate surfaces for western North America. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 94: 13071309.
Wang, T., Hamann, A., Spittlehouse, D.L. and Murdock, T.Q. 2012. ClimateWNA - High-resolution spatial climate data for western North America. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 51: 16-29
Mbogga, M., Hamann, A. and T. L. Wang. 2009. Historical and projected climate data for natural resource management in western Canada. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 149: 881-890.
Wang, T., Hamann, A. Spittlehouse, D. L., and Aitken, S. N. 2006. Development of scale-free climate data for western Canada for use in resource management. International Journal of Climatology 26: 383-397. .
Hamann, A., and T. L. Wang. 2005. Models of climatic normals for genecology and climate change studies in British Columbia. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 128: 211-221.


This research has, in part, been sponsored by Fulbright Canada under the Fulbright NEXUS Regional Scholar Program. Additional graduate student funding to develop and validate this database was provided by CONACyT Mexico.