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Daymet Science and Introduction

Weather Station

Weather station

Daymet V3 Average Annual Tmax – Alaska and NW Canada image

Daymet V3 Average Annual Tmax – Alaska and NW Canada

Daymet is a data product derived from a collection of algorithms and computer software designed to interpolate and extrapolate from daily meteorological observations to produce gridded estimates of daily weather parameters. Weather parameters generated include daily surfaces of minimum and maximum temperature, precipitation, vapor pressure, radiation, snow water equivalent, and day length produced on a 1 km x 1 km gridded surface. The motivation for producing Daymet is to provide measurements of near-surface meteorological conditions where no instrumentation exists. Having estimates of these surfaces is critical to understanding many processes in the terrestrial biogeochemical system. The Daymet model was developed by Dr. Peter Thornton with funding from a NASA Fellowship in Global Change Research.

Development of current versions of Daymet as well as its curation and distribution are supported by funding from NASA through the Earth Science Data and Information System ( ESDIS ) and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Program. The continued development of the Daymet algorithm and processing is also supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

When using Daymet data, please see the Data Citation Policy.

Spatial Resolution Temporal Resolution Years Available Spatial Region
1km x 1km Daily 1980 - present calendar year North America, Hawaii, Puerto Rico


Toggle Inputs
Daymet V3 DEM with 2010 Surface Weather Stations

Daymet V3 DEM with 2010 Surface Weather Stations

Required model inputs include a digital elevation model, derived horizon files, a land water mask, and observations of daily maximum temperature, minimum temperature, and precipitation from ground-based meteorological stations. For Daymet version 3 processing, surface observations were available from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN)-Daily dataset distributed by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) (Menne et al., 2012). One file per year for each year of station data is assembled and input into the Daymet model algorithm.

A Daymet dataset product is available for the the station-level daily weather observation data and the corresponding Daymet model predicted data for the three model parameters: tmin, tmax, and prcp. Also included are corresponding station metadata files for each variable and year, including the station name, station identification, latitude, and longitude.


Toggle Processing
Srad for 8 tiles, April 27, 2007

Shortwave Radiation in Northern Idaho / Western Montana (April 27, 2007) . Mosaic of 8 2-degree Daymet processing tiles

The Daymet algorithm manages the large number of input data and large spatial extent of the study area by creating a system of 2 degree x 2 degree tiles which are processed individually through the Daymet software. These tiles are identified by a TileID which is derived within the Daymet algorithm and is consistent throughout the temporal period of the Daymet record. These are the same TileIDs by which the Daily Tile Selection Tool data is made available for download.

The interpolation method at each prediction point is accomplished through an iterative estimation of local station density using the spatial convolution of a truncated Gaussian filter (Thornton et al., 1997). In it, a system is established in which the search radius of stations is reduced in data-rich regions and increased in data-poor regions. This is accomplished by specifying an average number of observations to be included at each point. The search distance of stations is then varied as a smooth function of the local station density. The result is a seamless match of gridded daily data for adjacent tiles.

In the Daymet algorithm, spatially and temporally explicit empirical analyses of the relationships of temperature and precipitation to elevation are performed. In addition, a daily precipitation occurrence algorithm is introduced as a precursor to the prediction of daily precipitation amount. Surfaces of water vapor pressure are generated as a function of the predicted daily minimum temperature and the predicted daily average daylight temperature. Daily surfaces of incident solar radiation are generated as a function of sun-slope geometry and interpolated diurnal temperature range. Snowpack, quantified as snow water equivalent, is estimated as part of the Daymet processing in order to reduce biases in shortwave radiation estimates related to multiple reflections between the surface and atmosphere that are especially important when the surface is covered by snow (Thornton et al., 2000).

Model Outputs and Data Products

Toggle Models and Products

For ORNL DAAC distribution, Daymet binary outputs are converted to a spatially referenced, gridded, netCDF file format that follow netCDF Climate and Forecast (CF) Metadata conventions. The CF standard provides a description of each data variable represented, and the spatial and temporal properties of each 2-degree tile. By providing data in this format, users have a robust means to locate data in both space and time as well as a number of software options for their own research needs. Daily gridded surface data for each of the 7 variables are listed below. The ORNL DAAC also mosaics the 2-degree tiles into a seamless gridded netCDF file of daily data for each variable and each year. These mosaic files, and other pre-derived data products, are available for download through the ORNL DAAC.

Parameters, Parameter abbreviations, Units, and Descriptions:

Parameter Abbr Units Description
Day length dayl s/day Duration of the daylight period in seconds per day. This calculation is based on the period of the day during which the sun is above a hypothetical flat horizon
Precipitation prcp mm/day Daily total precipitation in millimeters per day, sum of all forms converted to water-equivalent. Precipitation occurrence on any given day may be ascertained.
Shortwave radiation srad W/m2 Incident shortwave radiation flux density in watts per square meter, taken as an average over the daylight period of the day. NOTE: Daily total radiation (MJ/m2/day) can be calculated as follows: ((srad (W/m2) * dayl (s/day)) / l,000,000)
Snow water equivalent swe kg/m2 Snow water equivalent in kilograms per square meter. The amount of water contained within the snowpack.
Maximum air temperature tmax degrees C Daily maximum 2-meter air temperature in degrees Celsius.
Minimum air temperature tmin degrees C Daily minimum 2-meter air temperature in degrees Celsius.
Water vapor pressure vp Pa Water vapor pressure in pascals. Daily average partial pressure of water vapor.

Daymet Daily Variables; tmin, tmax, srad, vp (July 15, 2007), and prcp, and swe (Feburary 9, 2007):

Tile for Web Twin Thumb Tile for Web Tmax Thumb Tile for Web Trad Thumb
Tile for Web VP Pa Thumb Tile for Web Prcp Thumb Tile for Web Swe Thumb

High definition animations of daily Daymet data

This animation of Maximum TemperatureYouTube was created to demonstrate the daily data available from each of the netCDF files from the Daily Gridded Surface Data selection.

Download high-res animations of Daymet variables (Tmax and Prcp)

Daymet Annual Climatologies

Version Information

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The Daymet dataset is stored and distributed as individual CF-Compliant netCDF file for each Daymet variable. The most current Daymet data is being delivered to the user in terms of both Daymet software and Daymet data versions. Version information is recorded in the header file of each of the CF-netCDF files within the Global Attribute fields; Version_software and Version_data. All Daymet data is provisional and subject to revision.

Projection Definition

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The North American Daymet projection system and parameters:

  • Projection System: Lambert Conformal Conic
  • Parameters:
  • projection units: meters
  • datum (spheroid): WGS_84
  • 1st standard parallel: 25 deg N
  • 2nd standard parallel: 60 deg N
  • Central meridian: -100 deg (W)
  • Latitude of origin: 42.5 deg N
  • false easting: 0
  • false northing: 0

The spatial resolution of the Daymet gridded dataset is 1 km.


Toggle Calendar

The Daymet calendar is based on a standard calendar year. All Daymet years have 1 - 365 days, including leap years. For leap years, the Daymet database includes leap day. Values for December 31 are discarded from leap years to maintain a 365-day year.

Supplemental Files

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Daymet Version 3, Tile Distribution Grid

Daymet V3 2° x 2° tile distribution grid