What is the best method of calculating the number of model grid cells (e.g. of climate models) covering a specific country? For example, if I wanted to know how many 2 degree grid cells are in the United Kingdom, how would I go about it? At present I use the mapping toolbox in matlab and add a 2 degree grid and calculate manually. Is there a better way of doing this? Any advice is appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ I assume you have land mask and borders of the grids. From the whole grid loop over a rectangular shape compassing UK but no other countries and for each cell check the land mask. $\endgroup$
    – Communisty
    Jan 29, 2018 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ Be aware that some models use non-equirectangular grids. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Jan 29, 2018 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have the countries outlines in matlab as a vector? Or an image? $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2018 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ I would do it in a geographic information system and this question might be better answered in gis.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$
    – haresfur
    Jan 30, 2018 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


Here is a simple 'back of the napkin' idea for Python:

  1. Get a shapefile of the borders and use Python to create a polygon of the borders.
  2. Use mpl_toolkits to convert the climate model to X and Y coordinates
  3. Check to see if the model grid points are within the Polygon

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