Climate and weather data

Looking for free sources of weather data including near real-time data?     Scroll down to the links below. 

It is important to note that the accuracy of free weather data products has not yet been established for many regions, and should therefore be used with care. 

The WRO is currently working with CHIRPS and NASA-POWER data. While initial results look good, the use of actual measured data is recommended where possible.

Near real-time South African weather data is available from the South African Weather Service (SAWS) and the Agricultural Resource Council (ARC), with each maintaining a set of automatic weather stations across the country.  These data need to be paid for, although special conditions exist, for example, if you are busy with postgraduate studies. 

The South African Atlas of Climatology and Agrohydrology (SAAACA) provides freely available daily weather data at the quaternary catchment scale for the period extending from 1950 up to 1999 (Schulze, 2007). These data are available on the WRO data portal. The dataset is currently being updated to include 2000-2019 in a WRC project (2019/2020-00205 ) led by UKZN.

Free daily weather data is available from various platforms, such as NASA-POWER and CHIRPS (rainfall estimates) (see below). For many of these platforms the accuracy of the data still needs to be assessed.


Distribution of automatic weather stations at the ARC (453 locations) and SAWS (251 locations) 

CHIRPS - Rainfall Estimates from Rain Gauge and Satellite Observations

Climate Research Unit Time-series data v4.05 (high resolution gridded datasets)

ERA5 atmospheric reanalysis (1940 to current, hortizontal resolution of 31 km))

Multi-Source Weighted-Ensemble Precipitation (MSWEP) - A three hourly 0.1 degree resolution available from 1979 to ~3 h from real-time

NASA-POWER (Prediction of Worldwide Energy Resources) (Downloadable in a DSSAT-ready format)

CLIMWAT - FAO climatic database used with CROPWAT

National Climate Change Response Database (Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment)

Climate Change Prediction Data

South African Atlas of Climatology and Agrohydrology (SAAACA)  (1950-1999) (now available in the WRO)