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This dataset is called "CPC/Famine Early Warning System Daily Estimates", also known as RFE2, Rainfall Estimates. The data are calculated by merging GTS gauge observations and 3 kinds of satellite estimates. (GPI, SSM/I and ASMU).

Getting Access

Completely open access from ftp://ftp.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/fews/fewsdata/africa/rfe2/bin.

File Format

Pixel resolution 751 x 801
Geographical resolution 0.1º x 0.1º
Longitude range of first pixel 20.0ºW - 55.0ºE
Latitude range of first pixel 40.0ºN - 40.0ºN
Data / units: mm (per day)
No Data Value: -999
  • Each file is a daily total, compressed with gzip. (A simple 7z x using 7-zip from the command-line will unzip it).
  • 2004/07/24 and 2007/11/13 are missing.
  • Important: the data is ordered in rows starting at the South-most.
  • And also, there range is supposed to be <300mm. I found some insane values - (1.2E7, 1.1E8, 2005/04/08 and 2005/08/13). Recommendation from NOAA was to apply the 300mm ceiling.

Example Code

Java Tool

Download a little Java tool here for working with the .gz files that RFE2 is packaged in. See the JAVA file for the source-code. Usage:-

 java ExportRFE - shows all the options
 java ExportRFE /series /lon:-15.5 /lat:25.2 /start:20050101 /end:20050228
   will print a list of values for the given location, between the given days.
   add /accmonthly for monthly accumulation and daily average for each month.
 java ExportRFE /png /start:yyyymmdd /end:yyyymmdd 
   will produce png file for that range. Add /plain if you don't want any text.
   Add /out:path to specify where the pngs go.
 java ExportRFE /tsv /start:yyyymmdd /end:yyyymmdd 
   will produce tab-separated text grids for each day.
   Add /out:path to specify where the pngs go.


No citation information given - only: "Please refer to this product as the CPC/Famine Early Warning System Daily Estimates". Contact information: Nick Novella, NOAA / NWS / NCEP / Climate Prediction Center, NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction, 5830 University Research Court, College Park, MD 20740, (o) 301.683.3458. E-mail: Nicholas.Novella@noaa.gov