3. Post-processing and plotting FAQ

3.1. How do I compute a weighted average?

Using NCL

Using python

When calculating annual averages from NorESM2 data it is important use appropriate monthly weights, especially for individual radiative fluxes (can have errors of the order of 0.5-1 W/m^2 if not used).

The monthly files in NorESM2 (not BLOM/MICOM/iHAMOCC files) are written after the last time step of the month. Consequently, the date in the netcdf file is the first of the following month. E.g. The date in FILENAME.cam.h0.0001-01.nc will be 01-02-0001 (the first of February and not January). This needs to be taken into account when calculating annual averages using python packages like xarray and iris. One method is to use the time bounds (instead of time), another method is to correct the time stamps in the time array.


For BLOM/MICOM/iHAMOCC files there are no issues with the time variable, and annual averages can be calculated:

def annual_mean_to_file(var,fname,weights=np.array([31, 28, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31])/365):
      Calculate annual means from monthly means assuming no-leap calendar
      month_weights = xr.DataArray(np.tile(weights,len(var.time)//12),coords=[var.time], name='month_weights')
      annual_mean = (month_weights*var).groupby('time.year').sum('time')
      annual_mean = annual_mean.rename({'year':'time'})
      annual_mean = annual_mean.where(annual_mean!=0)

One way to handle the time issue is to take annual averages by looping over 12 files at the time (slow method):

def area_avg(ds, var, monthw = np.array([31, 28, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31])):
  Calculate global and annual means from monthly means
  field = ds[var].mean(dim = 'lon')
  return np.sum(monthw*[ np.nansum((field[i,:]*ds.gw[0]).values)/
                        np.nansum(ds.gw[0]) for i in range(0,len(ds[var].time))])/np.sum(monthw)

Weights for ocean calculations:

gridpath = 'ocngrid/tnx1v4/' # path to grid files
grid = xr.open_mfdataset(gridpath + 'grid.nc')
parea =  grid.parea
pmask =  grid.pmask
pweight = parea*pmask


It is also possible to use iris for analysing and visualising NorESM2 data Documentation: https://scitools.org.uk/iris/docs/latest/

def get_cube_varname(cube_list, var_name):
    Subtract cube with name var_name from the cube_list
    if type(var_name) is list:
        var_cube = iris.cube.CubeList()
        for name in var_name:
                for cube in cube_list:
                    if cube.var_name == name:
        return sum(var_cube)
        for cube in cube_list:
            if cube.var_name == var_name:
                return cube

def subtract_second_timedim(cube):
    Fix time issue by subtracting one second from the time array
    time = cube.coord("time")
    new_points = time.points - 1/86400
    new_time = DimCoord(new_points, standard_name="time",
    cube.add_dim_coord(new_time, 0)
    return cube

def annual_weighted_avg(path,file, varname):
    Calculate global and annual means from monthly means
    cube = iris.load(path + file)
    ts = get_cube_varname(cube, varname)
    cube = subtract_second_timedim(ts)
    lons = cube.coord("longitude")
    lats = cube.coord("latitude")
    weights = iris.analysis.cartography.area_weights(cube)
    cube_collapsed =cube.collapsed(coords=["latitude", "longitude"],
    monthw = np.tile(monthw, 30)
    tmp = [cube_collapsed[i:i+n].collapsed('time', aggregator= iris.analysis.MEAN,weights=monthw) for i in range(0,n*yrs,n)]
    cubes_aa = iris.cube.CubeList(tmp).merge()
    return cubes_aa[0]