I am trying to sum all of my raster files (over 500) from a single folder in R, using the raster package, but am encountering an error message I cannot figure out how to solve. I am trying to use to use this package to use the raster calculator to sum these files.

I have a folder of raster images (.tif). I then run the following code in R.


allrasters <- stack(list.files('C:/Users/MyName/Path/to/My/Data/Folder', full.names=T)

raster_sum <- calc(allrasters, fun=sum,na.rm=T, ,filename='C:/Users/MyName/Path/to/Outputs/Folder/Raster_Sum_Output.tif')

which yields the following error message:

Error in (function (classes, fdef, mtable) : unable to find an inherited method for function ‘calc’ for signature ‘"RasterStack", "numeric"’

What might be the cause for this, and how can I fix this problem so that I can get my intended output raster which is the sum of all the raster files in my folder? have not been able to find online how I might address this issue, since the the "RasterStack" and "numeric" components are too specific.

1 Answer 1


Have you got a numeric object called sum?

> sum=99
> raster_sum <- calc(allrasters, fun=sum,na.rm=TRUE)
Error in (function (classes, fdef, mtable)  : 
  unable to find an inherited method for function ‘calc’ for signature ‘"RasterStack", "numeric"’

The error is saying you are calling calc with a RasterLayer and a numeric argument, so the second argument must be numeric, and not a function. Remove any sum numeric object, or do base::sum:

> raster_sum <- calc(allrasters, base::sum, na.rm=TRUE)

(Oh and always spell TRUE out because that can break stuff too...)

  • Thank you, this is working so far now, your suggestion of replacing fun=sum with base::sum got the code to run. Though the code has been running for a good 45 minutes now, and I'm wondering if these seems reasonable for summing over 500 raster files, or if I should expect this to run much quicker. Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 15:39
  • All depends on the number of pixels. Try with a few subsets, time it, estimate the time for the whole set...
    – Spacedman
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 15:52
  • Good suggestion, I just checked the raster information in QGIS, and each raster file has Pixel Size: 100,-100, which did not seem like that much to me at first, but maybe I was wrong and created rasters with too high a resolution. Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 16:06
  • "Pixel size" isn't the issue, pixel count is. Read one stack into R and check the summary.
    – Spacedman
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 17:51
  • I tried a subset folder with just 4 of the raster files, and the code ran and completed in just a few seconds, and looking out the output raster file in QGIS, it looks just as I would intend. Though the message: Warning in .gd_SetProject(object, ...) : NOT UPDATED FOR PROJ >= 6 was produced, and I am not sure if this is an issue. I am not sure about the summary, but I simply ran allrasters and was returned: dimensions : 6418, 7821, 50195178, 4 (nrow, ncol, ncell, nlayers), but I don't think that says anything about the pixel count. Maybe the pixel count is too high then? How do I check? Commented Oct 9, 2021 at 21:10

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