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Global Gridded Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) from CMORPH Daily

Associated Agencies

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC)

The experimental Global Gridded Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is derived from the NOAA CMORPH dataset and includes timescales of 1, 3, 6 and 9 months.  The NOAA CMORPH precipitation dataset is a gridded dataset derived from combining numerous microwave-based estimates from low orbiter satellites.  The dataset is also archived and managed through the NOAA Climate Data Record program at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

While the CMORPH precipitation dataset is operational, the derived SPI products are currently experimental as the results are evaluated and the stability of the processing system is improved.  The SPI is available with both the gamma and Pearson Type III types of distribution fittings, using the Python Drought Indices open-source package.


Related publications:

Joyce, R. J., J. E. Janowiak, P. A. Arkin, and P. Xie, 2004: CMORPH: A method that produces global precipitation estimates from passive microwave and infrared data at high spatial and temporal resolution.. J. Hydromet., 5, 487-503.

Guttman, N. B., 1999: Accepting the standardized precipitation index: A calculation algorithm. J. Amer. Water Resour. Assoc., 35, 311–322,

Wu, H., M. J. Hayes, D. A. Wilhite, and M. D. Svoboda, 2005: The effect of length of record on the standardized precipitation index. Int. J. Climatol., 25, 505–520,

Wu, H., M. D. Svoboda, M. J. Hayes, D. A. Wilhite, and F. Wen, 2007: Appropriate application of the standardized precipitation index in arid locations and dry seasons. Int. J. Climatol., 27, 65–79,

Cumbie-Ward, R. V., and R. P. Boyles, 2016: Evaluation of a high-resolution SPI for monitoring local drought severity. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 55, 2247–2262,

Vose, R. S., and et al, 2014a: NOAA’s Gridded Climate Divisional Dataset (CLIMDIV). NOAA National Climatic Data Center, accessed 4 June 2018,

Interactive Map: 3-Month Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI)

CMORPH (CPC MORPHing technique) produces global precipitation analyses at very high spatial and temporal resolution. This technique uses precipitation estimates that have been derived from low orbiter satellite microwave observations exclusively, and whose features are transported via spatial propagation information that is obtained entirely from geostationary satellite IR data.

This map shows the 3-month Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and is updated daily with a delay of 2–3 days. 

Drought Categories
Value Map Hex Color
D4 #730000
D3 #e60000
D2 #ffaa00
D1 #ffd37f
D0 #ffff00
Wetness Categories
Value Map Hex Color
W0 #8ccdef
W1 #00bfff
W2 #1d90ff
W3 #4169e1
W4 #0000ff


How to use this site:


SPI from CMORPH in NetCDF: available for download from NOAA/NIDIS/NCEI