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As part of the ALP-IMP project, high-resolution gridded climatic fields dataset are developed for the Greater Alpine Region of Europe (GAR; 4°E-19°E, 43°N-49°N) by the Climatic Research Unit. This activity utilizes data from various sources, mainly from the HISTALP database.

Gridded precipitation

The precipitation dataset (alp_pre_dat.txt) provides monthly precipitation totals, for the 1800-2003 period, gridded at 10-minute resolution. The dataset is based on 192 long-term homogenized precipitation series from meteorological stations across the study domain and a high-resolution precipitation climatology for the 1971-1990 period. The effective coverage of the dataset depends on the observations available in the station network which progressively declines back to the early 19th century (from 192 to 5 stations). To aid the use of these data in other studies, an accompanying dataset (alp_pre_acc.txt) has also been developed, which provides a measure of the quality of each monthly precipitation estimate over the grid: the explained variance, relative to the 1931-2000 (maximum data availability) period. Short and extended descriptions of the development of the datasets are provided by two supplementary documents: alp_pre.txt and alp_pre.pdf. The latter document also contains a preliminary evaluation against station-based and independently-developed grid-based datasets.

Efthymiadis, D., P. D. Jones, K. R. Briffa, I. Auer, R. Böhm, W. Schöner, C. Frei, and J. Schmidli (2006) Construction of a 10-min-gridded precipitation data set for the Greater Alpine Region for 1800-2003. Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, D01105 (https://doi.org/10.1029/2005JD006120).

If you use these data, please cite the above paper.

Filename Format Size Description
alp_pre_dat.txt.gz gzipped ASCII 11.1 MB 10-min-grid precipitation (mm/month)
alp_pre_dat.nc NetCDF 31.1 MB 10-min-grid precipitation (mm/month)
alp_pre_acc.txt.gz gzipped ASCII 1.5 MB 10-min-grid explained variance score (%)
alp_pre_acc.nc NetCDF 31.1 MB 10-min-grid explained variance score (%)
alp_pre.txt ASCII 9 KB Information on the content, structure and development of the above datasets
alp_pre.pdf PDF 1.3 MB Description of the dataset development and evaluation

Self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index (scPDSI)

Monthly scPDSI values are calculated (van der Schrier et al., 2007) using as input interpolated fields of monthly temperature and precipitation observations. These span the period 1800-2003 and are on a resolution of 10 minutes longitude by 10 minutes latitude. The data are available from the CRU Drought Indices web page.

van der Schrier, G., D. Efthymiadis, K. R. Briffa, and P. D. Jones (2007) European Alpine moisture variability for 1800-2003. International Journal of Climatology, 27, 415-427 (https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.1411).


The  HISTALP database consists of monthly homogenised temperature, pressure, precipitation, sunshine and cloudiness records for the realm of the European Alps, and is maintained by the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), at Vienna.

Auer, I., R. Böhm, A. Jurković, A. Orlik,, R. Potzmann, W. Schöner, M. Ungersböck, M. Brunetti, T. Nanni, M. Maugeri, K. Briffa, P. Jones, D. Efthymiadis, O. Mestre, J.-M. Moisselin, M. Begert, R. Brazdil, O. Bochnicek, T. Cegnar, M. Gajić-Čapka, K. Zaninović, Ž. Majstorović, S. Szalai, T. Szentimery, and L. Mercalli (2005) A new instrumental precipitation dataset for the Greater Alpine Region for the period 1800-2002, International Journal of Climatology, 25, 139-166 (https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.1135).

Auer, I., R. Böhm, A. Jurković, W. Lipa, A. Orlik, R. Potzmann, W. Schöner, M. Ungersböck, C. Matulla, K. Briffa, P. Jones, D. Efthymiadis, M. Brunetti, T. Nanni, M. Maugeri, L. Mercalli, O. Mestre, J.-M. Moisselin, M. Begert, G. Müller-Westermeier, V. Kveton, O. Bochnicek, P. Stastny, M. Lapin, S. Szalai, T. Szentimrey, T. Cegnar, M. Dolinar, M. Gajic-Capka, K. Zaninovic, Z. Majstorovic, and E. Nieplova (2007) HISTALP - historical instrumental climatological surface time series of the Greater Alpine Region. International Journal of Climatology, 27, 17-4166 (https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.1377).

General remarks

High-resolution gridded datasets with continental/global coverage are also available from the Climatic Research Unit.

Files ending in ".gz" can be decompressed using gzip


These datasets are made available under the Open Database License. Any rights in individual contents of the datasets are licensed under the Database Contents License under the conditions of Attribution and Share-Alike.

Please use the attribution Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia

Updated: February 2009