The ERA5 global reanalysis, Hans Hersbach, Bill Bell, Paul Berrisford, Shoji Hirahara, András Horányi, Joaquín Muñoz-Sabater, Julien Nicolas, Carole Peubey, Raluca Radu, Dinand Schepers, Adrian Simmons, Cornel Soci, Saleh Abdalla, Xavier Abellan, Gianpaolo Balsamo, Peter Bechtold, Gionata Biavati, Jean Bidlot, Massimo Bonavita, Giovanna De Chiara, Per Dahlgren, Dick Dee, Michail Diamantakis, Rossana Dragani, Johannes Flemming, Richard Forbes, Manuel Fuentes, Alan Geer, Leo Haimberger, Sean Healy, Robin J. Hogan, Elías Hólm, Marta Janisková, Sarah Keeley, Patrick Laloyaux, Philippe Lopez, Cristina Lupu, Gabor Radnoti, Patricia de Rosnay, Iryna Rozum, Freja Vamborg, Sebastien Villaume, Jean-Noël Thépaut. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society(2020)


Within the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), ECMWF is producing the ERA5 reanalysis which, once completed, will embody a detailed record of the global atmosphere, land surface and ocean waves from 1950 onwards. This new reanalysis replaces the ERA-Interim reanalysis (spanning 1979 onwards) which was started in 2006. ERA5 is based on the Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) Cy41r2 which was operational in 2016. ERA5 thus benefits from a decade of developments in model physics, core dynamics and data assimilation. In addition to a significantly enhanced horizontal resolution of 31 km, compared to 80 km for ERA-Interim, ERA5 has hourly output throughout, and an uncertainty estimate from an ensemble (3-hourly at half the horizontal resolution). This paper describes the general set-up of ERA5, as well as a basic evaluation of characteristics and performance, with a focus on the dataset from 1979 onwards which is currently publicly available. Re-forecasts from ERA5 analyses show a gain of up to one day in skill with respect to ERA-Interim. Comparison with radiosonde and PILOT data prior to assimilation shows an improved fit for temperature, wind and humidity in the troposphere, but not the stratosphere. A comparison with independent buoy data shows a much improved fit for ocean wave height. The uncertainty estimate reflects the evolution of the observing systems used in ERA5. The enhanced temporal and spatial resolution allows for a detailed evolution of weather systems. For precipitation, global-mean correlation with monthly-mean GPCP data is increased from 67% to 77%. In general, low-frequency variability is found to be well represented and from 10 hPa downwards general patterns of anomalies in temperature match those from the ERA-Interim, MERRA-2 and JRA-55 reanalyses.