The GMAO Terminates MERRA Production


On March 14, 2016, the MERRA production stream completed the analyses for February 29, 2016. This is the last date for which MERRA data will be produced. GMAO’s reanalyses are now focused on the MERRA-2 product, which includes many improvements to the GEOS-5 model and analysis system, especially the ability to assimilate newer types of satellite observations. MERRA-2 also includes advances towards a more complete Earth-System product, not least because of the assimilated aerosol fields that interact with the meteorological components of the system.

Many scientific and technical advances were introduced into the GEOS-5 model and analysis system for MERRA. This development work was led by Michele Rienecker and summarized in the peer-reviewed publication (Rienecker et al., 2011) that now has more than 1000 citations. Alongside the researchers who contributed to the development of MERRA, the tireless efforts of many colleagues have contributed to the success of the project. These include:

  • GMAO's Operations group, who produced the analyses
  • GMAO's Monitoring group, who continuously evaluated the data products
  • NASA's Climate Computing Center (NCCS), who provided the computational services
  • Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES-DISC), who serve the data to the outside world and monitor this distribution
  • The staff of the Earth Sciences Division at NASA Headquarters, who have funded the project

Since MERRA data were first made available in 2008, more than three petabytes of data have been downloaded from the GES-DISC. While research institutes in the USA have obtained the largest data volume, the global footprint of MERRA is broad, with many users in Europe and Asia, as shown in the chart below.

Chart of MERRA Distribution by Country

We thank all of our users for your continued support over the past few years: ultimately, it is your use of MERRA data that has made the project so successful. We are glad that we can provide the updated MERRA-2 data for your continued use in the future.


Rienecker et al., 2011: MERRA: NASA’s Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications. J. Climate, 24, 3624–3648. doi:

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