I'm trying to analyse data from NARR (NCEP North American Regional Reanalysis) and every time I try my R session crash.

Here is what I do as a reproducible example:


the_NetCDF <- tempfile(fileext = ".nc")

download.file("ftp://ftp.cdc.noaa.gov/Datasets/NARR/Dailies/monolevel/csnow.2019.nc", the_NetCDF)

the_ras <- brick(the_NetCDF)

And here is what I get every time I run the code:

enter image description here

I also tried to open the file in QGIS with also an error.

here is my session info if it can help:

R version 3.6.2 (2019-12-12)
Platform: x86_64-w64-mingw32/x64 (64-bit)
Running under: Windows 10 x64 (build 18362)

Matrix products: default

[1] LC_COLLATE=English_Canada.1252  LC_CTYPE=English_Canada.1252   
[3] LC_MONETARY=English_Canada.1252 LC_NUMERIC=C                   
[5] LC_TIME=English_Canada.1252    

attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base     

other attached packages:
[1] ncdf4_1.17    raster_3.0-12 sp_1.3-2     

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
[1] compiler_3.6.2   tools_3.6.2      Rcpp_1.0.3       codetools_0.2-16 grid_3.6.2      
[6] lattice_0.20-38 
  • 1
    You might be able to workaround by adding mode = "wb" to the download.file call - only matters on Windows (but, it should not crash so I might chase up with raster package)
    – mdsumner
    Feb 18, 2020 at 22:25
  • @mdsumner, yes, it worked! Thanks, you can make it an answer and I'll accept it.
    – Bastien
    Feb 19, 2020 at 3:06

1 Answer 1


As @mdsumner specified in its comment, you need to specify the mode of download as binary like:

download.file("ftp://ftp.cdc.noaa.gov/Datasets/NARR/Dailies/monolevel/csnow.2019.nc", the_NetCDF, mode = "wb")

Using this prevent the crash from the raster package.

This is only good on windows, on Linux there was no problem.

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