Download CMIP5 data


Download CMIP5 data:

Browsing available data

Go to one of the ESGF nodes or

Limit search data:

  • Choose project: CMIP5
  • Experiment family: e.g. Historical, RCP etc.
  • Time frequency: mon (you probably want monthly outputs)
  • Realm: Maybe you want only aerosol data? Or restrict your search to “atmos” (atmosphere)
  • Variable: Choose the variable you want

Data description: Spreadsheet with overview of variables:

  • Data in accordance with CF convention(NetCDF Climate and Forecast (CF) Metadata Convention) and as specified in the CMIP5 tables.
  • Each file contains a single output variable(along with coordinate/grid variables, attributes and other metadata) from a single model and a single simulation (i.e., from a single ensemble member of a single climate experiment).

In general the files have names as: variableName_modul_modelName_scenario_realization e.g.: tas_Amon_NorESM1-M_rcp85r1i1p1

Experiments: Quick overview of CMIP5 experiments can be found at More information is available at

Downloading the files:


Everywhere says you have to register, but it seems you don’t.


Once you have entered a fitting search above, you get a list of model runs that fit your search. You can click “List files” to see the files contained. You can click the WEGET script to get a script that downloads the files from the run, but usually you would not want to download all the variables, you would maybe just want one or two variables. An alternative is as follows:

  • Press [ THREDDS Catalog ]
    • You now see an overview of the files from the run
    • Above each list of files for a single variable there is a file ending with .aggregation
    • Copy this link: e.g.
  • ON NIRD:
    • write
    • If you want to extract a specific time interval:
      ncks -d time,"1979-12-16","200-12-16"