Locating Climate/Weather Data and Information

Basic U.S. Weather Station Data

It is generally easy to obtain historic temperature, rainfall and snowfall information for specific locations in the U.S. In addition to these basic variables, it is sometimes possible to obtain other weather information including humidity and winds. Some stations have hourly data available though most have daily and monthly only. The places to check are:

  • NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI): They are the major repository for climate data in the U.S. They have quick links to datasets and web tools. You can also access datasets directly from their land-based datasets page.
  • NOAA Regional Climate Centers: There are six regional climate centers in the U.S. Each provides climate information that is relevant to that particular part of the country. They are more likely to have esoteric information not available at NCEI.
  • State Climatologists: Almost all states in the U.S. have a state climatologist. They will have access to local climate records, especially those related to weather events. Some states even have webpages where you can obtain information and data.
  • NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS): They have links to the web pages of many of their local offices. These vary widely in what they provide and are worth checking out.

Global Station Data

These are harder to obtain and some countries don't even give out their data for free. NCEI maintains data files for daily and monthly station data. Global extremes can be found here at NCEI and at Arizona State. Canadian climate data is available from the CMC. There are also available global gridded datasets (computer model and/or observation) which have values for most regions.

Climatologies

All of the sources above have some climatology information. In addition, try the U.S. Climate Page from PSD, and the Weatherbase and Worldclimate websites. U.S. state average temperature and precipitation climatologies are also available.

Surface Weather Maps

U.S. Historic surface analyses can now be obtained from the NOAA Library for 1871 to 2002 from the U.S. Daily Weather Maps webpage. It can also be obtained either on CD-ROM from NCEI on their NOAA Chart Series A/B/C. And they can be obtained from 2002 onwards from NOAA/Weather Prediction Center (WPC).

Other Types of Climate–Related Information

Forecasts

Short-term weather forecasts are available through the National Weather Service. Long-term climate forecasts are also available (from NOAA's CPC) including forecasts of temperature, precipitation and other variables for time periods of one or more months in the future. A list of El Niño forecasts is available from the PMEL El Niño theme page. PSD has some experimental forecasts we make available related to our research.

El Niño

PSD maintains an ENSO web page including background, current conditions, forecasts, related links, and more.

Education

PSD has a list of sites with educational tools and information. A wide range of levels is available.

Interactive Websites

PSD has a collection of websites that allow users to plot and analyze data. We also have links to outside outside interactive weather/climate sites.

If you still can't find it...

This weather resource guide has many useful links including road conditions and aviation forecasts. You can also look at NC State University Climate and Weather Links or the RealClimate data sources.

Non-web sources include local universities, libraries, airports, newspapers, TV and radio stations. Books, almanacs and magazines can be particularly useful. Some specific books include:

  • The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather by Jack Williams
  • National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather
  • Climate of the States. 2 volume. Gale Research, Michigan, 1980.
  • Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences, vol 1-6, Holton et al, Academic Press, 2002.

More difficult...


Suggestions for Other Data Sources

If you know of any good sources of climate data not included in this page, please email us at webmaster.psd@noaa.gov. Thanks!