I'm trying to open a NetCDF file from the CHIRPS dataset with yearly precipitation in QGIS 2.14 (OsX) but it hasn't worked at all. I've tried using both the NetCDF browser plugin and opening the NetCDF as raster file (common way of doing it) but according to QGIS all the raster values in the dimension (years) are 0 (no rain). I thought it was an error in the NetCDF but I opened it in ArcMap and it shows all the different values of rain per year pretty well.

Does any of you had this same experience in QGIS with NetCDFs from other sources than CHIRPS? I wonder if it is a bug in GDAL or some very specific characteristic of the type of NetCDF file that the CHIRPS folks are exporting.

Any help or comments are welcome!

  • 1
    Can you add a link to a dataset you have used?
    – AndreJ
    Jun 1, 2016 at 5:18
  • The only netcdf file I could find with a quick look on the CHIRPS web site ftp.chg.ucsb.edu/pub/org/chg/products/CHIRPS-2.0 was 5 Gigabytes. I'm not downloading that in a hurry... Or there's one that might be annual rainfall and that's still 477Mb...
    – Spacedman
    Jun 1, 2016 at 6:58

1 Answer 1


Taking the global annual data it seems that qgis does not read the metadata.

With gdalinfo, you get this information:

Size is 7200, 2000
precip_long_name=Climate Hazards group InfraRed Precipitation with Stations

Comparing size and extent, the resolution seems to be 20pix per degree. This can be used to build a vrt file around the netcdf:

gdal_translate -of VRT -a_ullr -180 -50 180 50 -a_srs EPSG:4326 -a_nodata -9999 -b 1 chirps-v2.0.annual.nc chirps.vrt

to get a reasonable output compared with Natural Earths boundaries:

enter image description here

Note that "upper left" is not where you expect it, because the file is upside down.

The QGIS netcdf plugin shows values that do not make sense for me. It should report -9999 for nodata in sea areas, but does not. It is still experimental after all.

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