Monthly Mean Precipitation Sums at Russian Arctic Stations, 1966-1990


This data set contains monthly mean precipitation sums from Russian arctic stations. Precipitation measurements were acquired using a Tretyakov precipitation gauge. Data have not been adjusted for wind bias. Data from 1967 and later are corrected for wetting loss (this correction was made by observers as they recorded the station data). Precipitation measurements from 216 stations are available. An analysis of existing precipitation data sets confirmed that data from these stations are not, at the time of publication, available in other commonly used precipitation data sets. Most data records begin in 1966 and end in 1990. The data are in tab-delimited ASCII format and available via FTP.

NSIDC strongly encourages you to register as a user of this data product. As a registered user, you will be notified of updates and corrections. Please contact NSIDC User Services to register.

Citing These Data

National Snow and Ice Data Center, compiler. 2006. Monthly mean precipitation sums at Russian arctic stations, 1966-1990. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Overview Table

Category Description
Data format Tab-delimited ASCII text format
Spatial coverage and resolution

The Russian arctic stations are within the following bounds:

Southernmost Latitude: 50.17° N
Northernmost Latitude: 69.77° N
Westernmost Longitude: 38.25° E
Easternmost Longitude: 164.17° E

Temporal coverage and resolution monthly data from 1966 to 1990
File naming convention



  • river_basin_name = name of the river basin (i.e. Northern Dvina) in which that data file's stations are located
  • precip = monthly mean precipitation sums from Russian stations
  • txt = ASCII text format

Example file name: northern_dvina_precip.txt

If the river basin name was unknown for a station at the time of the data set publication, the station data were put in the output_precip.txt file.

File size The precipitation data files range from 13 KB to 64 KB
Parameter(s) monthly mean precipitation sums (mm)
Metadata access View metadata
Data access FTP

Table of Contents

  1. Contacts
  2. Overview
  3. Detailed Data Description
  4. Data Acquisition and Processing
  5. Data Access and Related Collections
  6. References and Related Publications
  7. Acknowledgements
  8. Document Information

1. Contacts

Technical Contact

NSIDC User Services
National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449  USA
phone: +1 303.492.6199
fax: +1 303.492.2468
form: Contact NSIDC User Services

2. Overview

These data are provided as part of an ongoing effort to fill gaps in the precipitation record available to the arctic research community.

3. Detailed Data Description

Station List

A tab-delimited ASCII text file is available via FTP. This file lists the station name, latitude (deg N) and longitude (deg E) of the station position, the temporal range, the river basin name (if known) and the station number (if known). This station list was created by NSIDC based on a station list with station positions provided by V. Vuglinsky. Users should note that station name spellings and positions can vary depending on the original data source and on the interpretive translation between languages.


Precipitation is the only parameter in this data set. It is provided in monthly mean precipitation sums.

Spatial and Temporal Coverage and Resolution

Data were collected at stations between 50.17 N and 69.77 N, and 38.25 E and 164.17 E. Monthly data records in this data set begin in 1966 and end in 1990.

The map below displays the location of meteorological stations where these precipitation measurements were taken.



The data files are in tab-delimited ASCII text format.

Sample Data Record

The following text shows the first segment of the northern_dvina_precip.txt file.

In this example, Northern Dvina is the river basin, Biryakovo refers to the station name, Year gives the year the precipitation measurement was taken (ranges from 1966 to 1990), values 1-12 denote months (1 = January and 12 = December), and the sum is the sum of the monthly mean precipitation measurements from a specific station (Biryakovo) for a particular year.

Precipitation is recorded in mm.

File Naming Convention

The data are available as tab-delimited ASCII text files with the following naming format:



Example file name: northern_dvina_precip.txt

If the river basin name was unknown for a station at the time of the data set publication, the station data were put in the output_precip.txt file.

File Size

The data files range from 13 KB to 64 KB.

Quality Assessment

The precipitation data were transferred to NSIDC from the State Hydrological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation by V. Vuglinsky. The original precipitation data were written records, prepared by regional hydrometeorological authorities. Editors at the regional hydrometeorological authorities quality control data before publishing the data in monthly precipitation bulletins. Because the data were transcribed (keyed) at the State Hydrological Institute, the data are subject to transcription errors. NSIDC did not perform a quality assessment on the precipitation data.

Users should note that precipitation sums for certain months are missing from some stations. Reasons for the missing sums include that certain stations had closed, there were gaps in the observations, the quality of the data was poor or a data value was lost during transmission. A file containing the missing values is available. Note that not every precipitation file was exhaustively checked. Therefore, there may be missing precipitation values that are not listed in the missing values file.

Measuring arctic precipitation accurately is difficult. Users of these data should first become familiar with error sources inherent in all arctic precipitation measurements. We strongly suggest consulting Groisman and Rankova (2001) and Groisman et al. (1991) and references contained therein, and the documentation on gridded precipitation fields in Arctic Climatology Project (2000) for an introduction to precipitation measurement issues.

4. Data Acquisition and Processing

The original monthly precipitation sums were acquired from the official monthly precipitation bulletins prepared by regional hydrometeorological authorities in paper form and transcribed (keyed) to digital form at the State Hydrological Institute.

Meteorological observations including precipitation were performed according to the Manual for Hydrometeorological Stations and Posts, Gidrometeoizdat, 1985 (from "Nastavlenie gidrometeorologicheskim stantsyyam i postam." Vypusk 3, chast’ 1). A standard meteorological site was 26 m by 26 m, and was located on relief typical of the area. It was more than 100 m distant from any bodies of water, and at a distance 20 times the height of any obstruction (such as trees or a building). A meteorologist measured the amount of precipitation two or four times every 24 hours (see Groisman et al.,1991 for detailed instructions). Duration and type of precipitation were observed continuously. Amount of precipitation was measured to a precision of 0.1 mm.

The data were received at NSIDC in two deliveries, on 3 December 2004 and also on 30 January 2006. These data, in Excel spreadsheets, were combined with data from V. Vuglinsky already in use by NSIDC researchers to create this data set. The data were reformatted from Excel spreadsheets to tab-delimited ASCII file.

5. Data Access and Related Collections

Data Access

Data are available via FTP.

Relation to Other Precipitation Data Sets

Planning for this data set began in 2003, as part of a Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) project to acquire data sets that may be needed for an arctic reanalysis effort. Precipitation data was seen as important, but identifying what stations or temporal coverage was missing from the many precipitation data sets already available was a necessary first step. A table of precipitation data sets potentially valuable for arctic reanalysis was constructed, and a match was sought between the stations that could be acquired for this data set and stations in most of the data sets in the table, based on proximity of station location (to within 0.25 degrees, or 27.75 km). In March of 2004, it was determined that the stations provided in this data set were not available elsewhere, with the exceptions noted below. For completeness, the precipitation data set table is included here as a document file (Precipitation_Dataset_Inventory.doc) for downloading. This data set, G02170, is an extension of the “R4” data set in the table. The "R4" data have an associated station number in the station list. Station numbers are not available for other stations in the data set.

Stations That are Known to be Present in Other Data Sets

A list of stations that appear in this data set and also in other readily available data sets (though the date range may be different) is available.

There is also overlap with several stations in the archives of the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC), Germany. Most of the GPCC station records start in 1986 and end in 1995 with some gaps. The GPCC received these data from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (H. Mächel, personal communication, e-mail to F. Fetterer on 25 October 2004.)

Stations from this data set that overlap with stations in the GPCC:

Northern Dvina river basin

Station (number) Latitude (deg. N) Longitude (deg. E) Station Name Data Range
22974 60.40 44.25 Njuksenitsa 1966-1990
23904 60.33 51.55 Kazhym -
22781 62.97 46.58 Okulovskaya 1966-1990
23709 62.18 54.20 Pomozdino 1966-1990
22869 61.13 43.35 Shangaly 1966-1990
23608 63.17 52.60 Mesju 1966-1990

Pechora river basin

Station (number) Latitude (deg. E) Longitude (deg. N) Station Name Data Range
23812 61.83 56.87 Yaksha 1966-1990
23215 67.43 58.02 Khorey-Ver 1966-1990
23411 65.95 55.17 Mutny Materik 1966-1990
23316 66.60 59.28 Adzva-Vom 1966-1987
23519 64.05 59.43 Verkhniy Schugor 1966-1990
23509 64.22 53.57 Kedva-Vom 1966-1990
23514 64.52 55.40 Ira-Yol 1966-1990
23322 66.68 62.60 Sivaya Maska 1966-1987

Onega river basin

Station (number) Latitude (deg. E) Longitude (deg. N) Station Name Data Range
22749 62.13 39.33 Konevo 1966-1990
22944 60.47 38.62 Charozero 1966-1990

Mezen river basin

Station (number) Latitude (deg. E) Longitude (deg. N) Station Name Data Range
23501 64.77 51.08 Levkinskaya 1966-1990

Related NSIDC Data Collections

Other Related Data Collections

6. References and Related Publications

Arctic Climatology Project. 2000. Environmental Working Group Arctic Meteorology and Climate Atlas. Edited by F. Fetterer and V. Radionov. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center. CD-ROM.

Groisman, P. Y. and E. Y. Rankova. 2001. Precipitation trends over the Russian permafrost-free zone: removing the artifacts of pre-processing. International Journal of Climate 21: 657-678.

Groisman, P. Y., V. V. Koknaeva, T. A. Belokrylova, and T. R. Karl. 1991. Overcoming biases of precipitation measurement: A history of the USSR experience. Bulletin of American Meteorological Society pp. 1725-1733.

Legates, D. R., and C. J. Willmott, Mean seasonal and spatial variability in gauge-corrected, global precipitation. 1990. International Journal of Climatology, 10 (1), pp. 111-1270.

Nastavlenie gidrometeorologicheskim stantsyyam i postam. Vypusk 3, chast’ 1. (Manual for hydrometeorological stations and posts. Iss.3, part 1). 1985. Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad. 300 pp.

In addition, the following related document is available on NSIDC's Web site:

Document Description URL
NOAA at NSIDC's Precipitation Data Set Station Lists and Overlap Analysis Web page Provides an analysis of the overlap in station coverage for various precipitation data sets.


7. Ackowledgements

The NOAA team (F. Fetterer, L. Ballagh, and J. Kovarik) prepared this data product for publication at NSIDC. B. Raup, NSIDC, was responsible for the analysis that assured that these data are a new contribution (see Relation to Other Precipitation Data Sets). J. Beitler, NSIDC, performed a final edit on the documentation before publication. We thank Dr. Hermann Mächel, Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) Offenbach am Main, Germany, for evaluating overlap with stations in GPCC archives.

This work was funded by the NOAA Arctic Research Office (Grant #: NA17RJ1229). NSIDC would like to acknowledge support from Dr. John Calder, Director of the NOAA Arctic Research Office.

8. Document Information

Document Authors

L. Ballagh prepared this document based on discussion and email exchange with F. Fetterer, on correspondence with V. Vuglinsky at the State Hydrological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, and on documentation of related NSIDC precipitation products. F. Fetterer provided most of the content for the "Related NSIDC Data Collections" and "Other Related Data Collections" sections.

Document Creation Date

August 2006

Document URL