Abstract : Atmospheric conditions at the site of a cosmic ray observatory must be known for reconstructing observed extensive air showers. The Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS) is a global atmospheric model predicated on meteorological measurements and numerical weather predictions. GDAS provides altitude-dependent profiles of the main state variables of the atmosphere like temperature, pressure, and humidity. The original data and their application to the air shower reconstruction of the Pierre Auger Observatory are described. By comparisons with radiosonde and weather station measurements obtained on-site in Malargüe and averaged monthly models, the utility of the GDAS data is shown.