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ECMWF ERA-15 Re-Analysis data (January 1979 - February 1994)

BADC Data Extractor

We have now launched the BADC Data Extractor.
view guide How to use the Data Extractor.
This service allows conversions, sub-sets, plots and animations to be created dynamically.
More information about the Data Extractor is available on the software pages.

Intro icon: Introduction

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has been using a model to produce forecast data since 1979. Due to improvements in model resolution and in the parameterisation of physical processes, the ECMWF model has been updated regularly over the years (see Changes to the Operational Forecasting System). While this improves the current ability of the model it means that model output from different time periods is not necessarily consistent.

The aim of the ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA) project was to produce a long time-series of consistent meteorological analyses using a single version of the ECMWF model. The dataset spans the period 1 January 1979 - 28 February 1994. The BADC also archives ECMWF Operational analyses from 1 March 1994 - present.

The ECMWF used a spectral model to generate the ERA-15 dataset. The BADC archives the spectral T106 resolution data on model levels with surface fields held on an N80 Gaussian grid.

The data is also available on a 2.5° x 2.5° regular latitude-longitude grid. The upper air fields for the 2.5° x 2.5° gridded data is stored on pressure levels.

The parameters vary with the type of grid and level on which they are stored. The parameters page lists all the available variables for each grid type, level type and time period.

A status page is maintained to document changes to the ERA-15 archive.

Key icon: Restricted data

The ECMWF datasets are for bona fide research purposes only and access is therefore restricted. The BADC can only distribute the data to academic users within the UK, on a per person per project basis (i.e. all members on a same project who will be using the data must individually apply for access to the data). For this reason, we do not make the data available to anonymous users through these web pages.

In order to gain access to the data and accompanying software, please apply for access to ECMWF ERA datasets . The application form includes the Met Office agreement and ECMWF ERA agreement, to be returned to the BADC. You will then be given access to both ERA datasets (ERA-15 and ERA-40) via the Browse Archive pages of the BADC web-interface and from an account on the BADC computer (allowing FTP access to the data).

Note: German users may be able to access the data from the BADC under a reciprocal agreement with the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M). German users will need to register with the MPI-M using this form which should be faxed to Model & Data on +49-40-41-17-34-00, before applying for access under this agreement through the BADC.

Under this reciprocal agreement, registered BADC users who are authorised to access the ERA data held at the BADC, may gain access to the ECMWF products held at MPI-M. Please contact for details.

Users from other countries may be able to access these data through their own national meteorological organisation.

Data icon: Data Access

The datasets are held at the BADC in their original GRIB format. The data can be accessed via FTP or via our web-interface.

Registered users can now access parts of this dataset via the BADC Data Extractor. See the Data Extractor web page for more details.

The ECMWF now provides its own GRIB decoding software (GRIBEX) free from the ECMWF software pages. Documentation on other external software packages that can read GRIB.

An ECMWF picture gallery is available to view some sample data.

Docs icon: Documentation

When you register to use the ECMWF ERA-15 data we will tell you where to find the ECMWF documentation made available at the BADC. More details about the ERA-15 datasets held at the BADC are available on the following topics:

Technical detail about level and grid types is also available via the ECMWF Technical site map.

Other useful documentation includes:

There is also documentation available via our ECMWF Operational data web pages detailing the Integrated Forecasting System that is used for operational forecasts. An ECMWF document entitled The description of the evolution of the ECMWF forecasting system and corresponding archive (published November 1999) is also available in .pdf format.

Deficiencies in the ERA-15 data are documented on the ECMWF web pages.

Links icon: Links to further information

We maintain a set of links to ECMWF-related information on the World Wide Web, including the ECMWF home page.

The BADC holds other ECMWF datasets: ECMWF Operational data, ECMWF ERA-40 Re-analyses and ECMWF trajectory data.

A list of references is also available.

* Citation

Who icon: Who to contact

If you would like to know more about ERA-15 data and how to obtain it from the BADC, you should contact us through the BADC support line. For information more directly related to the ERA-15 project and data, contact the ECMWF.