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Meteorology FAQ Part 3/7: Sources of research data

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Archive-name: meteorology/research-data
Last-modified: 1 March 2000

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This article is copyright (c) 2000 by Tom Berg. It may be freely
distributed for non-commercial purposes only, provided that this copyright notice and the instructions on retrieving a current copy are not removed. 

With special honor given to Ilana Stern who conceived of this FAQ and
maintained it with the greatest of professionalism and care until the torch was passed to me.

If the date in the headers of the document you're reading
is more than a month old, you should retrieve a current copy.
Current copies of this FAQ series can be obtained in hypertext form via WWW at <URL:>.

There are 7 documents in this FAQ series:
  Meteorology FAQ Part 1/7: Intro
  Meteorology FAQ Part 2/7: Sources of weather data  
  Meteorology FAQ Part 3/7: Sources of research data  <=== 
  Meteorology FAQ Part 4/7: Sources of CD-ROMs
  Meteorology FAQ Part 5/7: Internet resources
  Meteorology FAQ Part 6/7: Print and other resources
  Meteorology FAQ Part 7/7: List of U.S. State Climatologists

Corrections, additions, and comments should be sent to Tom Berg at  Please include in your message where you read
this FAQ series.  Note that if I know about it, it's in these documents.

Subject: 1) Table of contents 1) Table of contents 2) Overview 3) Multidisciplinary Data Centers 4) Climate and weather 5) Satellite data 6) Hydrology and glaciology 7) Environmental chemistry 8) Geophysical and mapping data 9) Instruments and field experiments 10) Oceanography 11) Miscellaneous data 12) Software and documentation Each (major) section has a "Subject:" line, so you can search on the subject title above to find the section quickly.
Subject: 2) Overview Sites listed in this section contain sites with data other than just weather information. This includes map data, miscellaneous images, atmospheric and oceanographic research data, and software for use with meteorological data. Primary data centers are listed first, followed by sites which may have some data of that type but are not necessarily official data centers. Much of the research data is not free and is not directly available over the network; only metadata, or information about the data, is available, and you must place an order for the actual data.
Subject: 3) Multidisciplinary Data Centers <URL:> <URL:telnet://> (login "gcdir") The Global Change Master Directory is a multidisciplinary on-line information system containing descriptions of Earth and space science data holdings available to the science community. These include data from NASA, NOAA, NCAR, USGS, DOE (CDIAC), EPA, NSF and other U.S. and international agencies, universities, and research centers. For telnet access, login as "gcdir". <URL:> <URL:> National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Data Support Section maintains a large archive of a variety of atmospheric, oceanic, and geophysical datasets, encompassing most subdisciplines. This site contains information (metadata) on available datasets; a few small datasets are directly available. <URL:> National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Information Services Home Page. This "master page" links to the Web pages of the various NOAA Data Centers: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) <URL:> National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) <URL:> National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) <URL:> You can search the NOAA dataset catalog, which covers all the NOAA Data Centers. The individual data centers are also listed elsewhere in this document. <URL:> Home page for Earth Observing System (EOS). This "master page" links to the home pages of the various Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs), which provide data from EOS: JPL Physical Oceanography DAAC <URL:> Marshall Space Flight Center DAAC <URL:> Goddard DAAC <URL:> Earth Resources Observation Systems DAAC <URL:> National Snow and Ice Data Center DAAC <URL:> Langley DAAC <URL:> Oak Ridge National Laboratory DAAC <URL:> NOAA's Satellite Active Archive <URL:> Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) <URL:> Alaska Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Facility <URL:> The individual data centers are also listed elsewhere in this document. <URL:> National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) earth science archive page. A new policy from the Earth Sciences and Applications Division at NASA Headquarters directed NSSDC to distribute its holdings to various designated archives. NSSDC no longer archives any new Earth science data; this site describes the Earth science data transfer activities and provides selective data and resources available to users. <URL:> Defense Modeling Simulations Office (DMSO) Master Environmental Library (MEL). This site offers keyword searching of a directory of all meteorological, oceanographic, and other environmental data at Department of Defense sites such as the Fleet Numerical Oceanography Center, Naval Research Laboratories, Air Force Global Weather Center, etc. <URL:> United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Resource Information Database (GRID). Global and European datasets for environmental researchers, including vegetation and topography maps, maps of population and other human-related items, and various climatologies.
Subject: 4) Climate and weather <URL:> <URL:> <URL:telnet://> (login "storm", password "research") National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of NOAA. Inventories and metadata for various climate datasets are available, along with selected datasets. Monthly Climatic Data for the World for the last several years is available here in the directory <URL:>. This is a World Data Center A for meteorology. <URL:> The Climate Diagnostics Center (CDC), previously the Climate Research Division of the ERL Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL), conducts diagnostic studies of climate variability on time scales of months to centuries. CDC climatological data is archived in netCDF format. This site gives access to metadata (information about these datasets) which can be searched by various keywords; actual data must be ordered from CAC by email or fill-in forms. <URL:> <URL:> Climate Prediction Center. Climate products and services consisting of operational prediction of climate variations, monitoring of the climate system and development of data bases for determining current global and regional climate anomalies and trends, and analysis of their origins and linkages to the complete climate system, including ENSO advisories and indices, and monthly mean and anomaly fields. <URL:> Goddard Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC). Data and related services for global change research and education. Data holdings cover information on the upper atmosphere, atmospheric dynamics, and global biosphere. Products include data from Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), Total Ozone Mapping Satellites (TOMS), Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS), Sea-viewing Wide Field of View Sensor (SeaWiFS), Pathfinder Advanced Very High Resolution (AVHRR) land sensor 4-Dimensional Assimilation dataset, Total Ozone Vertical Sounder (TOVS) Pathfinder data, Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) Field Observation experiment data. <URL:> Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University's Climate Group's server. The "Data Library" contains various climatologies for the ocean and atmosphere, and topographic data, along with a nice interactive system for selection and display of data. <URL:> <URL:> The Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison maintains archives of Antarctic data, including synoptic reports and satellite images. <URL:> <URL:> Various monthly mean data files, including surface temperature anomalies, grids of various variables used in the GCM II (General Circ. Model). Also various maps of vegetation indices, cultivation indices, wetland ecosystems. The ftp machine can not be accessed using a WWW browser -- you must ftp directly. The file "GISS.HELP" contains an index. As of Feb 96, the ftp server's data is somewhat outdated. <URL:> ISCCP C2 cloud data from GISS. This data is no longer on the main server, above. <URL:> Free University of Berlin Stratospheric Research Group. Stratospheric data (heights and temperatures). <URL:> "The Long Paddock" Climatology of Australia with focus on Queensland. Maps of monthly rainfall, SOI, SST. Information on drought and the southern oscillation. <URL:> Climatology of the TOGA-COARE and adjacent regions. <URL:> Links to many paleoclimate resources. <URL:> Western Regional Climate Center <URL:> Northeast Regional Climate Center <URL:> Southeast Regional Climate Center <URL:> Southern Regional Climate Center <URL:> High Plains Regional Climate Center
Subject: 5) Satellite data <URL:> <URL:telnet://> NOAA's Satellite Active Archive is a digital library of real-time and historical satellite data from NOAA's Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). Currently, AVHRR and TOVS data is available. <URL:> NOAA Satellite Information System (NOAASIS) provides NOAA/NESDIS-operated satellite information for direct readout station operators and users of environmental satellite data. Limited information is provided for the satellites operated by other countries and enitities. Includes general information about satellites, schedules, navigation information, publications, and more. Added <URL:> NOAA Office of Satellite Operations home page. Bulletins, basic information, and other information. <URL:> The German Remote Sensing Data Center. Satellite images, data, and other information. <URL:> Alaska Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Facility Home Page. SAR images and derived data, AVHRR and Landsat satellite imagery. <URL:> <URL:> Info about, and sample data from the NOAA Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). DMSP is a two satellite constellation of near-polar orbiting, sun-synchronous satellites monitoring meteorological, oceanographic and solar-terrestrial physics environments. <URL:> Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) home page. Contains general information on ozone, ozone satellite retrieval, and information about Earth Probe/TOMS, Meteor-3, and Nimbus-7. Ozone movies and graphs also available. Nimbus-7 and Meteor-3 daily gridded Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) ozone data is available via <URL:>. user is warned that the data are not archive quality and not suitable for publication. Data will eventually be archived with the GSFC DAAC. <URL:gopher://> <URL:> The GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) Pathfinder Data Set was generated at SSEC using full resolution GOES imagery from the Geostationary National Archive. Includes 8 km products, 70 km equal area statistics products, 24 km browse of the 8 km products, and 9 panel browse of the 70 km statistics from May 4, 1987 through November 30, 1988. <URL:> Two-line element data (TLE) for a variety of satellites.
Subject: 6) Hydrology and glaciology <URL:> Marshall Space Flight Center Distributed Active Archive Center (MSFC.DAAC). Data holdings are primarily aimed at researchers investigating facets of the hydrologic cycle. Available data includes SSM/I NOAA/NASA Pathfinder Products, TOVS NOAA/NASA Pathfinder Path C1 Products, SSM/I Antenna Temperatures and Sensor Counts, and Climatological Summaries. <URL:> The National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) maintains information about snow cover and avalanches, glaciers and ice sheets, floating ice, ground ice and permafrost, atmospheric ice, extra-terrestrial ices, paleoglaciology and ice cores. Also see the NSIDC home page at <URL:>. <URL:> <URL:gopher://> <URL:> National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center. Snow cover measurements in US and Canada, and snow water equivalent data. <URL:> The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Sea Ice home page. Contents include the most recent automated sea ice analysis for both hemispheres and ice drift forecast guidance. <URL:> Ice Services Branch of Environment Canada. Information about available products and services, and some sample data. <URL:> The Institute for Meteorology of the Free Uni Berlin provides operation sea-ice maps. Text is mostly in German but there are some English translations. <URL:> University of Maryland Global Soil Moisture Data Bank. A collection of data, model output, and links to soil moisture information.
Subject: 7) Environmental chemistry <URL:> The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) provides information about the Earth's biogeochemical dynamics (the chemical interactions among the Earth's surface, water, and air that produce changes in the Earth and its climate) to the global change research community, policy makers, educators, and the general interested public. <URL:> The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) at ORNL provides information to help international researchers, policymakers, and educators evaluate complex environmental issues, including potential climate change associated with elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other radiatively active trace gases. <URL:> <URL:telnet://> (login "ims", password "larcims") The Langley Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) archives and distributes radiation budget, cloud, aerosol, and tropospheric chemistry data to the general science community. Data are available via FTP, tape and CD-ROM. Products include data from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), Surface Radiation Budget (SRB), International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP), Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE), First ISCCP Regional Experiment (FIRE), and Global Tropospheric Experiment (GTE). <URL:> <URL:gopher://> Environmental Protection Agency. A variety of publicly-accessible databases, including air pollution data, toxic chemical release data, and geographic data.
Subject: 8) Geophysical and mapping data <URL:> U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data products, including cartographic data, geologic data, water data, and links to other USGS machines which hold data or metadata archives. <URL:> U.S. Geological Survey's EROS Data Center (EDC). Aerial photography, cartographic data, earth science data, hydrologic data, landuse/landcover data, radar data, satellite and satellite derivative data, topographic data. <URL:> Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (EDC.DAAC). Archives include land processes data, including satellite- and aircraft-acquired data: 1km AVHRR, Landsat Pathfinder data, Digital Chart of the World Derived Digital Elevation Model Data (topographical charts), SIR-C/X-SAR (Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar). <URL:> <URL:gopher://> <URL:> The National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) of NOAA manages environmental data in the fields of solar-terrestrial physics, solid earth geophysics, marine geology and geophysics, paleoclimatology, and glaciology (snow and ice). In each of these fields it also operates a World Data Center (WDC A) discipline center. Data and metadata are available. <URL:> National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)'s catalog of geophysical and vegetation datasets. Several of these datasets are directly available via this page. <URL:> <URL:gopher://> Shaded relief map of USA generated from 30 arc second DEM dataset. <URL:> The Computer Oriented Geological Society (COGS) has various mapping-related information, datasets, and software. <URL:> Various USGS and other uncopyrighted data. Includes USGS DEM and DLG files, land use information, and some software to read these files.
Subject: 9) Instruments and field experiments <URL:> <URL:> Army Research Laboratory's Atmospheric Profiler Research Facility. Real-time, hour-averaged, qc'd, surface to stratosphere profiles of wind, temperature, and optical/radar turbulence from the Atmospheric Profiler Research Facility, White Sands, New Mexico. Archives back through 1994. This site is scheduled to close down in September 1996. <URL:> UCAR Joint Office for Science Support. A large number of datasets from various field projects and research programs, including CEPEX, GCIP, STORM-FEST, TOGA-COARE, are available via "CODIAC" -- The Cooperative Distributed Interactive Atmospheric Catalog. <URL:telnet://> (login "kuda", password "science") Many types of atmospheric measurements and supporting data from the Persian Gulf region during the Kuwait oil well fires (1991). Inventory includes aircraft measurements of particulates, chemistry, radiation, and state parameters, surface-based meteorological, air quality, and radiation measurements, model output grids, and digital satellite images from NOAA and DMSP polar orbiters. For more information, contact <URL:> Information about, and data from, the MODIS Airborne Simulator multispectral scanner. <URL:> The US Department of Energy's Airborne Multisensor Pod System (AMPS) collects a variety of data from multiple sensors mounted on a modified Lockheed RP-3A. Currently the sensors include Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and MultiSensor Imaging (MSI) pods; Effluent Species Identification (ESI) pod is currently under construction. Information about the AMPS project and data is available. <URL:> Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) flew on space shuttle Endeavour on two missions in 1994. Images from these flights, and information about the instrument.
Subject: 10) Oceanography <URL:> <URL:gopher://> OCEANIC, the Ocean Information Center at the University of Delaware, contains information about data collected for the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and the Tropical Oceans and Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE). In addition OCEANIC has a searchable international research ship schedule database, a searchable directory of names/addresses/e-mail of scientists involved in WOCE, and numerous links to WOCE data facilities and other oceanographic information systems. <URL:> <URL:gopher://> National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) of NOAA. The NODC holds physical, chemical, and biological oceanographic data collected by U.S. Federal agencies, including the Department of Defense (primarily the U.S. Navy); state, and local government agencies; universities and research institutions; and private industry. A large percentage of the oceanographic data held by NODC is of foreign origin. <URL:> <URL:> JPL Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC). Products available from PO.DAAC are largely satellite derived, and include: sea-surface height, surface-wind vector (and sigma-nought), surface-wind speed, surface-wind stress vector, integrated water vapor, atmospheric liquid water, sea-surface temperature, sea-ice extent and concentration, heat flux, and in-situ data as it pertains to satellite data. <URL:> NCEP Ocean Modelling Branch. Includes global wave model forecast and sea ice information. Regional wave model output is available for several regions. Fog model and sea ice information also available. <URL:> <URL:gopher://> Scripps Institute of Oceanography Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) "Data Zoo". Data collected by various California coastal data collection programs and studies. <URL:> Datasets from the the U.S. Geological Survey Global Change Research Program, an operational arm of the national U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). Modern average global SST and polar sea ice are available. <URL:> NOAA's Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory. Interactive access to a selection of ocean climatologies and real-time and historical TAO buoy data. <URL:> AVISO - TOPEX/POSEIDON Home Page. Information on the French-American TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite mission and the French active archive data center, AVISO/Altimetry. Other information on space oceanography related matters. <URL:> <URL:> Sea level anomalies are routinely computed using TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) Interim Geophysical Data Records (IGDRs) by the University of Texas Center for Space Research (UT/CSR) as soon as the data for a complete 10-day repeat cycle are available, approximately 1 to 2 weeks after the end of a cycle. <URL:> The Alfred Wegener Institute provides the Hydrographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean. <URL:> <URL:> International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) server has several PC oceanographic products available, including a list of country codes and ship codes, and inventories of data profiles and research activities. For more information contact <URL:> East coast tidal heights and winds in "pub/Tidedata", QuickBasic IBM-PC shareware to compute tides and currents in "pub/Tides", Luyten & Stommel oceanographic atlas in "pub/LiveAtlas", and other related items. <URL:> Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Ocean Acoustics Lab. Various oceanography-related Matlab stuff. <URL:> Delft University of Technology. Sea surface altimetry atlas computed from satellite data, satellite orbit determination, global windspeed and wave height from ERS-2. <URL:> Penn State University Offshore Weather Data Page. Offshore weather data from buoys, ships, and CMAN stations. 36-hour archive, updates every 15 minutes. <URL:> The Australian Oceanographic Data Centre (AODC) maintains a database of mainly temperature and salinity profiles for the Australian Area of Interest (30N - 80S; 20E - 150W), with limited quantities of in-situ data held outside of this region. Information about the datasets is available on the AODC server. <URL:> Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center. Interactive image generation of wave height analysis and forecasts, SST analysis and climatology. Information about the models used to generate the images is also available. <URL:> Global current marine observations and significant wave height map. <URL:> <URL:> NOAA's Environmental Technology Laboratory provides an archive of images of ocean surface wind direction for the North Atlantic Ocean from Over-the-Horizon (OTH) Radar. OTH-B was shut down by the Air Force on 4 April 1995 so there is no current data. <URL:> The Remote Sensing Group in the Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Low resolution visible and infrared imagery is collected daily from the NOAA sun-synchronous polar orbiting satellites. Low resolution observations (4 km.) are collected globally while high resolution observations (1 km.) are collected from selected areas of research interest around the globe. Oceanography pointers and indices: <URL:> <URL:> <URL:> <URL:> <URL:> <URL:> <URL:>
Subject: 11) Miscellaneous data <URL:> Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). Data about human interactions in global environmental change from many sources. <URL:> <URL:gopher://> NOAA's Space Environment Laboratory (SEL) server has information about the Sun and the environment between the Sun and the Earth, including "space weather" and solar images <URL:> Viking, Magellan, and Voyager data, and various earth-from-space images and information. <URL:> <URL:gopher://> MPEG of GOES-7 and GOES-8 images during May 10 1994 eclipse
Subject: 12) Software and documentation <URL:> <URL:> The Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies provides GrADS (Grid Analysis and Display System) software and documentation. GrADS is an interactive desktop tool for the analysis and display of earth science data. <URL:gopher://> Information from the National Weather Service Telecommunication Gateway (NWSTG) of the National Weather Service (NWS), Systems Operations Center,about changes to data formats and transmissions information that has not yet been published in standard source documents, such as NWS manuals, WMO manuals, or other documents or announcements. <URL:> A collection of scientific software written by Warren Wiscombe. Mostly atmospheric radiation-related: Mie code, discrete ordinates radiative transfer code, atmospheric thermodynamics code, and other programs. <URL:> Steve Baum's collection of information about, and links to, software for graphical presentation and numerical analysis of oceanographical and meteorological data. <URL:> The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks archives various radiative transfer and other software. The program uvspec, which calculates diffuse and direct uv and visible fluxes (radiance) and intensities (irradiance) at any altitude, is in <URL:>. <URL:> contains a general n-stream radiative transport equation solver. <URL:> Unidata Program Center. Decoders for for SAO, METAR, RAOBs; WXP; NetCDF; units converter; and other software available. <URL:> <URL:> Various software and utilities, including Skew T log P charting software, GRIB decode software, grid interpolation codes, US standard atmosphere calculation. <URL:> This FTP site at Florida State University is a repository for public domain software and shareware that is useful to atmospheric scientists. <URL:> WeatherNet software archive. Many popular weather related shareware and freeware programs, including WeatherGraphix, HurrTrk, RAOB, WxView, Sharp, WinWeather, Blue-Skies. <URL:> Code for the NCAR/CGD Community Climate Model. <URL:> (shareware version of WeatherGraphix 4.1a, a weather plotting and analysis program) and hurricane tracking software. <URL:> Various weather software for Mac and PC. <URL:> Humidity-wind chill-heat index program, sunrise calculation program <URL:> Humidity product calculator for Windows 95 and Dos. <URL:> Radiosonde (TTAA, etc) decode program in perl/java <URL:> Javascript atmospheric variable calculator <URL:> Interactive Radar Analysis Software (IRAS) package home page. IRAS is a free X-Windows based software tool which is used to display weather radar data. <URL:> Scientific visualization software, Vis5D and VisAD. <URL:> GRIB decode in C <URL:> GRIB decode in Fortran <URL:> BUFR decode in Fortran (various files for different platforms) <URL:> Program to decode SYNOP and RTTY Meteo AAXX/BBXX codes, for PCs. <URL:> Information on METAR and WMO codes <URL:> LaTex Style file for JAS <URL:> <URL:> LaTex style sheet for the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. <URL:> BibTeX style (.bst) file and a LaTeX style (.sty) file for AMS publications <URL:> The FAQ for the Usenet newsgroup Includes pointers to format descriptions and software for various data formats, including several which are frequently used in the atmospheric sciences: CDF, netCDF, HDF, GRIB. Also pointers to scientific visualization software. <URL:> NCAR Technical Note 404, An Introduction to Atmospheric and Oceanographic Datasets. By Shea, Worley, Stern and Hoar; kept updated on the web. Information about datasets and data types available to the community.

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