TAMSAT Data

IMPORTANT NOTICE. The TAMSAT website has moved to www.tamsat.org.uk Please update your automatic scripts to grab data from www.tamsat.org.uk/public_data. The registration system has been temporarily suspended. The time series viewer is not yet functional on the new site. Feel free to email tamsat@reading.ac.uk if you need help extracting and subsetting data.

TAMSAT's Operational products are:

  • Daily and ten-daily (dekadal) cumulative rainfall estimates issued on the 1st, 11th, and 21st of the month
  • Monthly cumulative rainfall estimates issued on the 1st of the following month
  • Seasonal cumulative rainfall estimates issued on 1st March, 1st June, 1st September, and 1st December

All the products are provided at 4 km resolution for the whole of Africa.

In addition, we issue rainfall anomalies relative to a 1983-2012 climatology.

Use of TAMSAT data

If you make use of TAMSAT data, please observe the TAMSAT Data Policy. In accordance with our data policy, when using TAMSAT data, you are required to cite the following papers:

Tarnavsky, E., D. Grimes, R. Maidment, E. Black, R. Allan, M. Stringer, R. Chadwick, F. Kayitakire (2014) Extension of the TAMSAT Satellite-based Rainfall Monitoring over Africa and from 1983 to present Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climate DOI 10.1175/JAMC-D-14-0016.1

Maidment, R., D. Grimes, R.P.Allan, E. Tarnavsky, M. Stringer, T. Hewison, R. Roebeling and E. Black (2014) The 30 year TAMSAT African Rainfall Climatology And Time series (TARCAT) data set Journal of Geophysical Research DOI: 10.1002/2014JD021927

TARCAT v2.0 Data Access

Click on a menu link to the left to view and access our near real-time and archived rainfall estimates and derived products back to January 1983, for individual months/days/dekads. Alternatively, you can use the time series extractor for time series analysis.

The full datasets of dekadal and monthly RFEs and RFE anomalies are freely available to download:

TAMSAT dekadal rainfall estimates 1983-present

TAMSAT dekadal rainfall anomalies 1983-present

TAMSAT monthly rainfall estimates 1983-present

TAMSAT monthly rainfall anomalies 1983-present

TAMSAT seasonal rainfall estimates 1983-present

TAMSAT seasonal rainfall anomalies 1983-present

Daily data can be downloaded using hidden links like the one below (replace 1998 with your year of interest):

/public_data/1998/TAMSAT_rfe_daily1998.zip

Naming convention and file format

The zipped directories contain a set of files with the following naming convention:

rfeYYYY_MM[_dd]
rfeYYYY_MM[-dkD]
rfeYYYY_MM[-dkD]_anom
rfeYYYY_MM_seas
rfeYYYY_MM_seas_anom
rfeYYYY-YYYY_MM[-dkD]_clim

Where:
dd is the two-character day, [01-31]
dk is the dekad, [1-3]
MM is the two-character month, [01-12]
MM_seas is the end-of-season month, i.e. 02, 05, 08, or 11
YYYY is the four-character year, [1983 to present]
YYYY-YYYY is the year range of the climatology, e.g. 1983-2012


Data Format

For more information on NetCDF data, please refer to UNIDATA's web site.


NetCDF Data Viewers & Software

SPIRITS (Software for the Processing and Interpretation of Remotely Sensed Image Time Series) is a very functional tool for analysis of time series of periodic composites, derived from medium or low resolution Earth Observation sensors such as SPOT-VEGETATION, NOAA-AVHRR, METOP-AVHRR, TERRA/AQUA MODIS, and MSG-SEVIRI, as well as related climatic datasets such as satellite derived rainfall estimates, including the TAMSAT rainfall estimates in NetCDF format.


ILWIS Open is a useful, PC-based GIS & Remote Sensing software package developed by ITC, University of Twente. The ISOD toolbox for ILWIS Open enables easy access to online data archives (including TAMSAT data) and supports their subsequent, efficient geospatial processing with ILWIS Open.

Download ILWIS Open here

Download ISOD toolbox here

For further information, please refer to the ISOD Toolbox Installation and User Manual


Panoply is a useful, cross-platform application for visualisation and simple manipulation of NetCDF (as well as HDF and GRIB) data that is available from NASA GISS (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies).