A hundred plus years of North American climate spatial models at the historical monthly time scale

North American dataset "j" from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was used to generate monthly grids of mean maximum/minimum temperature, and total precipitation from 1901 to 2016 (approximately 2 km resolution).

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This paper introduces monthly grids of mean maximum/minimum temperature, and total precipitation generated between 1901 and 2016 using a 60 arc-second (approximately 2 km) Digital Elevation Model covering the continental US and Canada.  These monthly historical spatial models cover the geographic area from -168° to -52° longitude, and from 25° to 85° latitude from 1950 to 2016, and -168° to -52° longitude, and from 25° to 60° latitude from 1901 to 1949 (See images below; TMIN 1950 and 2000).   The models utilized the North American dataset version “j” from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centres for Environmental Information (NCEI).  We report on improvements to model predictions compared to similar spatial models published in 2006 by Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN). In part, reductions in predictive error are due to commendable work by NOAA and other agencies to rescue, accumulate and restore historical temperature and precipitation records, as well as improved quality control processes. ​The models can be used by researchers and agencies to help assess the impacts of past climate on North American ecosystems (among other issues of human interest) and thus support climate adaption strategies.

Heather MacDonald

Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service - Natural Resources Development Canada

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