70 Years of Precipitation Data Now Available

The importance of high-resolution regional data: investigating historical rainfall trends in the state of Wyoming using NOAA’s URD precipitation dataset and the Planet OS Datahub API.

With more and more high-quality data being collected and published, businesses find great value from new, sometimes unexpected data sources. I’m happy to share that we’ve just added a new precipitation dataset to the Planet OS Datahub making it easier to access and analyze daily rainfall data in the continental United States.

This regional precipitation dataset is part of a products suite from the CPC Unified Precipitation Project that are underway at NOAA CPC. The project was initiated with the goal to create a suite of unified precipitation products with consistent quantity and great quality. They include information from all the CPC sources and use the optimal interpolation (OI) objective analysis technique.

This new dataset complements the global CHIRPS precipitation product, which is also available on Datahub. The two datasets, CHRIPS and URD, date back to 1981 and 1948 respectively which means that Datahub now provides a total of 70 years of precipitation data over the continental United States.

URD and CHIRPS annual precipitation [mm]

I previously used CHIRPS data to explore the historical changes in rainfall in Palo Alto. With the addition of URD data, I’ve created a new notebook that uses both datasets to investigate historical rainfall over the state of Wyoming.

The first results of my analysis can be seen in the plot above. For more examples of how you can use the Datahub API to acquire subsets of the CHIRPS and URD data, then calculate basic historical statistics, check out my Jupyter notebook on GitHub.


The Planet OS Datahub provides free access to high-quality earth science data, and is routinely updated with new datasets. If you’d like to be notified when new data becomes available, follow Planet OS on Medium or subscribe to our email newsletter to receive future updates in your inbox.