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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

R Package ‘processCFSR’

Global weather databases have recently become important inputs for models related to diverse research areas such as hydrological modeling, climate change, and other more. One of these databases is The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) which was completed over the 36-year period of 1979 through 2014 (Texas A&M University, 2015). The CFSR was designed and executed as a global, high resolution, coupled atmosphere-ocean-land surface-sea ice system to provide the best estimate of the state of these coupled domains over this period. The current CFSR will be extended as an operational, real time product into the future (National Centers for Environmental Prediction, 2015).

The climatic datasets provided by these databases can be used for models such as the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). This model was developed by the USDA-ARS (U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service) and is widely used to predict the impact of soil and vegetation management over water yield. The combination of both CFSR and SWAT allows modelers to carry out projects in basins where weather stations are scarce. CFSR has been used in different countries with good results proving that this database is suitable to be used for SWAT in large-scale basins (Fernandez Monteiro, Gücker, & Srinivasan, 2014; Fuka et al., 2014).

Despite this, the mismatch between the inputs format of weather stations for SWAT and the default CFSR datasets format leads to a wasted time spent on formats conversion. Furthermore, as it is suggested in Fernandez Monteiro et al. (2014), a previous analysis of CFSR with observed data has to be carried out for hydrological modeling projects. Given these facts, an R package named “processCFSR” has been developed containing tools to download CFSR datasets from drfuka.org service and convert them to SWAT and WGN Excel Macro inputs format[1]. Also, it allows users to plot and analyze anomalies between weather stations and CFSR datasets (see Fig. 1).


Figure 1. Plot of anomalies between CFSR and weather station precipitation

Figure 1. Plot of precipitation anomalies between CFSR and weather station


This package is published on GitHub and can be downloaded by running the following command in R:


In the manual or vignette files it is possible to find information about the functions, classes, data and methods implemented in this package.


[1] For more information about these formats, please refer to SWAT Model webpage



Fernandez Monteiro, J. A., Gücker, B., & Srinivasan, R. (2014). Comparison between Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) weather data and data from meteorological stations in Brazil to evaluate the suitability of CFSR data for SWAT. doi:10.13140/2.1.2016.4806

Fuka, D. R., Walter, M. T., MacAlister, C., Degaetano, A. T., Steenhuis, T. S., & Easton, Z. M. (2014). Using the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis as weather input data for watershed models. Hydrological Processes, 28(22), 5613–5623. doi:10.1002/hyp.10073

National Centers for Environmental Prediction. (2015). NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR). Retrieved September 10, 2015, from http://rda.ucar.edu/pub/cfsr.html

Texas A&M University. (2015). Global Weather Data for SWAT. Retrieved September 10, 2015, from http://globalweather.tamu.edu/

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