A reader inquired about downloading HAdCRUT3 data. I’ve posted up a recipe here http://data.climateaudit.org/scripts/gridcell/collation.hadcrut3.txt . You will have to download the *.nc version – see the url in the script details and also install the ncdf package in R. I have not worked much with NetCDF formats, but it seems to be pretty easy to retrieve the gridcell information. I’m planning to use this version rather than the ASCII version, which requires extra manipulation. The series is monthly starting in 1850, one year earlier than earlier versions.