CHELSA – Free climate data at high resolution

CHELSA (Climatologies at high resolution for the earth’s land surface areas) is a high resolution (30 arc sec) climate data set for the earth land surface areas currently hosted by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL (Dr. Dirk N. Karger, Prof. Dr. Niklaus Zimmermann), and has been developed in coorporation climatologists from the Department of Geography of the University of Hamburg (Prof. Dr. Jürgen Böhner, Dr. Olaf Conrad, Tobias Kawohl), the University of Zurich (Dr. Michael Kessler, Prof. Dr. Peter Linder), and the University of Göttingen (Prof. Dr. Holger Kreft).

It includes monthly mean temperature and precipitation patterns for the time period 1979-2013.
CHELSA is based on a quasi-mechanistical statistical downscaling of the ERA interim global circulation model ( with a GPCC bias correction ( and is freely available  in the download section.


The data is described in this peer reviewed article:

Karger, D.N., Conrad, O., Böhner, J., Kawohl, T., Kreft, H., Soria-Auza, R.W., Zimmermann, N.E., Linder, H.P. & Kessler, M. (2017) Climatologies at high resolution for the earth’s land surface areas. Scientific Data 4, 170122.


CHELSA Specifications

  • High resolution (30 arcsec, ~1 km)
  • Precipitation & Temperature
  • Incorporation of topoclimate (e.g. orographic rainfall & wind fields)
  • Downscaled ERA-interim model
  • Allows calculation of derived parameters based on monthly values such as length of dry periods etc.


Current version

Version 1.2 online