MSDI Climate

Image of fair-weather cumulus cloudsThe climate framework provides 30-year summaries of climate data. Annual and monthly climate normals for the following variables are produced for Montana:

  • Precipitation - Total amount of rainfall and snowfall (mm).
  • Minimum Temperature - Daily average minimum temperature (deg F).
  • Maximum Temperature - Daily average maximum temperature (deg F).
  • Minimum Relative Humidity - Average minimum amount of water vapor in air relative to theoretical maximum potential vapor (%).
  • Maximum Relative Humidity - Average maximum amount of water vapor in air relative to theoretical maximum potential vapor (%).
  • Solar RadiationAverage daily incoming shortwave solar radiation (W/m^2).
  • Vapor Pressure Deficit - Average daily difference between moisture currently in the air vs theoretical maximum moisture (kPa).
  • Wind SpeedThe daily average wind speed (m/s).
  • Reference Evapotranspiration - The average amount of water lost from a hypothetical well-watered grass surface to the atmosphere.


Data and Documentation 

  • Premade Maps - A directory containing viewable and downloadable .pngs of each variable.



  • Climate Atlas - Web application that allows users to interactively view each of the climate normals.



The goal of the Montana Climate Office in serving as the MSDI Climate Steward is to provide accurate, timely and relevant climate data for the state of Montana. The MCO provides this data through community outreach and the production of relevant climate information including climate normals.Climate normals are 30-year summaries of climate data that are generated each decade. Normals provide a broad overview of average climate conditions over the past 30 years and help contextualize current conditions from the perspective of the past few decades.

Updated Climate Normals will be produced at the beginning of every decade to properly contextualize current conditions and account for changes to Montana's climate over time. The MCO chooses to produce climate normals with the gridMET dataset because of its short latency and high accuracy relative to weather stations, such as Montana Mesonet Stations.