A powerful, format-agnostic, and community-driven Python library for analysing and visualising Earth science data
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Iris is a powerful, format-agnostic, community-driven Python library for analysing and visualising Earth science data

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Iris implements a data model based on the CF conventions giving you a powerful, format-agnostic interface for working with your data. It excels when working with multi-dimensional Earth Science data, where tabular representations become unwieldy and inefficient.

CF Standard names, units, and coordinate metadata are built into Iris, giving you a rich and expressive interface for maintaining an accurate representation of your data. Its treatment of data and associated metadata as first-class objects includes:

  • a visualisation interface based on matplotlib and cartopy,
  • unit conversion,
  • subsetting and extraction,
  • merge and concatenate,
  • aggregations and reductions (including min, max, mean and weighted averages),
  • interpolation and regridding (including nearest-neighbor, linear and area-weighted), and
  • operator overloads (+, -, *, /, etc.)

A number of file formats are recognised by Iris, including CF-compliant NetCDF, GRIB, and PP, and it has a plugin architecture to allow other formats to be added seamlessly.

Building upon NumPy and dask, Iris scales from efficient single-machine workflows right through to multi-core clusters and HPC. Interoperability with packages from the wider scientific Python ecosystem comes from Iris' use of standard NumPy/dask arrays as its underlying data storage.


The documentation for Iris is available at https://scitools.org.uk/iris/docs/latest, including a user guide, example code, and gallery.


The easiest way to install Iris is with conda:

conda install -c conda-forge iris

Detailed instructions, including information on installing from source, are available in INSTALL.

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Copyright and licence

Iris may be freely distributed, modified and used commercially under the terms of its GNU LGPLv3 license.


Information on how to contribute can be found in the Iris developer guide.

(C) British Crown Copyright 2010 - 2018, Met Office