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Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) is a partnership of climate modeling centers dedicated to supporting climate research by providing secure, web-based, distributed access to climate model data. The NCCS links ESGF to data from NASA and NOAA climate/weather models originating from:

  • NASA Goddard’s Global Modeling Assimilation Office (CMIP5
  • NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (CMIP5 and CMIP6)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (CMIP5)
  • Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies
  • Global reanalysis project (CREATE)
  • NASA observational data (obs4MIPs)

Climate model data contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR5) are expected to exceed hundreds of petabytes, and this data needs to be made available to the international climate community. ESGF provides researcher’s access to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 and 6 (CMIP5 and CMIP6) model data that served as the basis for IPCC AR5, and will serve as the basis for IPCC AR6. Through ESGF’s secure web interface, scientists may search, download, analyze, and visualize climate data from around the world.


To access data, visit the NCCS ESGF Gateway.Users have the option to search by categories like Institute, Model, and Variable.

For help using ESGF, and additional helpful information, see ESGF’s Tutorials page.


“ESGF manages the first-ever decentralized database for handling climate science data…federated sites worldwide. It is recognized as the leading infrastructure for the management and access of large distributed data volumes for climate change research.”


// Obs4MIPs

The Obs4MIPs project identifies NASA satellite-derived observational data products that exactly match the CMIP5 variables, and publishes them in an easily comparable format (matching units and data format, comparable resolution) on ESGF to allow for the comparison of Climate Model output to NASA observations. Where applicable, data is published on errors and number of observations. Also, all datasets provide a companion Technical Note fully describing the methodology behind the processing of the data.Observational data sets published by CDS include:

  • Shortwave and Longwave Radiation (CERES)
  • Precipitation (GPCP)
  • Leaf Area Index (MODIS)
  • Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (MODIS)
  • Aerosols (MISR)
  • u, v wind vectors from Reanalysis projects (ECMWF ERA-Interim)



The Collaborative REAnalysis Technical Environment (CREATE) collects all available atmosphere and multiple ocean reanalysis data into one centralized location at the NCCS, standardizing data formats, providing analytic capabilities, visualization analysis capabilities, and overall improved access to multiple reanalysis datasets.


// NEX Downscaled Climate Projections

The NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) Downscaled Climate Projections (NEX-DCP30) dataset is comprised of downscaled climate scenarios for the conterminous United States that are derived from the General Circulation Model (GCM) runs conducted under the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5.