How to open and work with NetCDF data in R
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How to open and work with NetCDF data in R

Date: March 26, 2018
Contact for ORNL DAAC:

Keywords: R, netCDF


In this tutorial we will open some geospatial data that is stored in a netCDF file. We will select the variable and time range of interest, and we will export the data to a GeoTIFF so that we can continue the analysis in R or other geospatial software.

Arctic Growing Season NDVI, 1982

Source Data

Guay, K.C., P.S.A. Beck, and S.J. Goetz. 2015. Long-Term Arctic Growing Season NDVI Trends from GIMMS 3g, 1982-2012. ORNL DAAC, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA.

Specifically, we will use the file “gimms3g_ndvi_1982-2012.nc4”. Download the data here before beginning the tutorial.


R v3.4 or later. Required packages:

  • ncdf4 -- for netcdf manipulation
  • raster -- for raster manipulation
  • rgdal -- for geospatial analysis
  • ggplot2 -- for plotting


Access the tutorial here: Tutorial