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3-D Gridded NEXRAD WSR-88D Radar Data



If you use the GridRad data in your research or for other purposes, please drop us a line and let us know how you are using it!

Version 3.1

Analysis period
Analysis interval
Number of radars
Longitude range
Latitude range
Altitude range
Grid type
Resolution
Grid size
Variables
Repository
DOI
Last updated
1995-01-01 00:00 UTC to 2017-12-31 23:00 UTC, all months
1 hour
125
115W to 69W
25N to 49N
1 to 24 km
regular longitude-latitude-altitude
0.02 x 0.02 x 1 km
2301 x 1201 x 24
nradobs; nradecho; reflectivity
NCAR Research Data Archive
10.5065/D6NK3CR7
2018-03-28 12:00 UTC
Full resolution maps for 1995 to 2016 are available on this web site.

Version 4.2 (Hourly Archive)

Analysis period
Analysis interval
Number of radars
Longitude range
Latitude range
Altitude range
Grid type
Resolution
Grid size
Variables
Repository
DOI
Last updated
2008-04-01 00:00 UTC to 2021-08-31 23:00 UTC, April through August only
1 hour
143
125W to 66W
24N to 50N
1 to 22 km (0.5-km spacing from 1 to 7 km, 1-km from 7 to 22 km)
regular spacing in longitude and latitude; variable spacing in altitude
1/48 x 1/48 x 0.5 or 1 km (0.020833... x 0.020833... x 0.5 or 1 km)
2832 x 1248 x 28
nradobs; nradecho; reflectivity; velocity spectrum width
NCAR Research Data Archive
10.5065/Y463-4B15
2022-01-04 12:00 UTC
Main changes from V3.1 hourly archive

Version 4.2 (GridRad-Severe)

This image is the GridRad-Severe logo.  Clicking here will take you to the full resolution image.
Analysis period
Analysis interval
Number of radars
Longitude range
Latitude range
Altitude range
Grid type
Resolution
Grid size
Variables

Repository
DOI
Last updated
2010 to 2019 (currently), ~100 events per year
5 min
variable, up to 143
variable, up to 125W to 66W
variable, up to 24N to 50N
0.5 to 22 km (0.5-km spacing from 0.5 to 7 km, 1-km from 7 to 22 km)
regular spacing in longitude and latitude; variable spacing in altitude
1/48 x 1/48 x 0.5 or 1 km (0.020833... x 0.020833... x 0.5 or 1 km)
2832 (or fewer) x 1248 (or fewer) x 29
nradobs; nradecho; reflectivity; velocity spectrum width; azimuthal shear; radial divergence
& for 2013 and later only: differential radar reflectivity; specific differential phase; correlation coefficient
NCAR Research Data Archive
10.5065/2B46-1A97
2023-01-10 23:30 UTC

Version 4.2 (DCOTSS Deployments)

Analysis periods

Analysis interval
Number of radars
Longitude range
Latitude range
Altitude range
Grid type
Resolution
Grid size
Variables
Repository
DOI
Last updated
2021-07-05 00:00 UTC to 2021-08-23 23:50 UTC
2022-05-12 00:00 UTC to 2022-07-12 23:50 UTC (not yet public)
10 min
143
125W to 66W
24N to 50N
0.5 to 22 km (0.5-km spacing from 0.5 to 7 km, 1-km from 7 to 22 km)
regular spacing in longitude and latitude; variable spacing in altitude
1/48 x 1/48 x 0.5 or 1 km (0.020833... x 0.020833... x 0.5 or 1 km)
2832 x 1248 x 29
nradobs; nradecho; reflectivity; velocity spectrum width
NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center
10.5067/ASDC/DCOTSS-Radar-Satellite-Data_1
2022-10-12 18:00 UTC

GridRad Data Files

Note: details in this description apply to the V3.1 files.

Click here to download a sample GridRad file (~40 MB).

The GridRad data set consists of radar reflectivity data and radar coverage information from 125 U.S. NEXRAD WSR-88D radars merged onto a regular, three-dimensional, longitude-latitude-altitude grid at hourly synoptic analysis intervals. Each analysis uses all available radar azimuth scans within a specified time window centered on the analysis time (typically about +/-4 minutes). The size of the time window is stored in the GridRad files. Following conventional nomenclature, the NEXRAD volume scan files are referred to as Level 2 data, while the GridRad data sets are referred to as Level 3 data.

The GridRad data are stored as netCDF-4 files, one file per analysis time. A sample ncdump is available here. The reflectivity (Reflectivity) and reflectivity weight variables (wReflectivity) are stored using a sparse storage scheme to reduce file sizes. All of the dependent variables (i.e, excluding the coordinate variables) are stored using netCDF-4 gzip compression.

Note: The netCDF chunk size for 3-D (Nradobs and Nradecho) and indexed variables (index, Reflectivity, and wReflectivity) is set to the entire variable. Therefore, when reading these files the most efficient approach is generally to read the entire variable, rather than reading subarrays.

IDL and Python programs to read and quality control the GridRad data files are available on the Software page.

There are 365 days x 24 files per day = 8760 hourly analysis files for each year (8784 files for leap years).

The resolution of the analysis grid is 0.02 longitude x 0.02 latitude x 1 km altitude (~1.5 km x ~2 km x 1 km). The analysis domain covers most of the contiguous U.S. (CONUS), and extends from 245E to 291E (155W to 69W), 25N to 49N, and 1 to 24 km in altitude. The grid has 2301 x 1201 x 24 grid points (~66 million points).

The file naming convention is

nexrad_3d_vN_n_YYYYMMDDThhmmssZ.nc

For example, the file

nexrad_3d_v3_1_20040301T010000Z.nc

contains the GridRad Version 3.1 analysis for 2004-03-01 01:00:00Z.

Missing Data

For a small number of analysis times, no volume scans are available from the NEXRAD network. Reading the GridRad files for these times will return data arrays that are filled entirely with zeros for Nradobs, Nradecho, and wReflectivity, and entirely with NaNs for Reflectivity. The files_merged variable will contain the string: "No NEXRAD Level 2 volume scan files are available for this analysis time.". Click here to download a list of files with no valid data.

Bad Volume Scans

In the course of our research we have discovered a small number of analysis times with volume scans from individual radars that have gross errors. In the example below two radars (KVNX and KMTX) have obvious errors.

Raw GridRad reflectivity map with bad volume scans - click map to download image.
This image is an example of a radar reflectivity map created using GridRad data.

For this analysis time, we have re-merged the Level 2 data excluding the volume scans from those two radars. The result is shown below.

Raw GridRad reflectivity map with bad volume scans removed - click map to download image.
This image is an example of a radar reflectivity map created using GridRad data.

Click here to download a list of of the analysis times and radars with known bad volumes. In some cases the bad radar volume scans are not obvious in the reflectivity maps, but were identified by an echo-top height analysis.

The GridRad files for those analysis times have been processed excluding the listed radars. Note, however, that we have not conducted an exhaustive analysis of the data set, and individual analyses in the GridRad archive are known to contain bad volumes scans.

To download reflectivity maps with and without the bad volume scans, click here and here.