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HOME > Monitoring and Data > Oceanic & Atmospheric Data > Meteorlogical Data Servers

Part of the AMS 2010 short course on climate datasets: This section has information on the NCEP Reanalyses and how to obtain and use them. Also has hints on how to obtain data from the NOMAD servers.

Climate Prediction Center Data: Meteorological Data Servers
Climate, Weather Analyses, Weather Forecasts
Please choose a server: 
  • Don't bookmark or post URL's of plots that you have created
    because the plots are automatically deleted after 20 minutes.
  • For Nomad questions/comments:

Programming Suggestions
Generated plots are periodically deleted to recover space.
   After you make a plot, don't wait to download the plot.
Check the URLs that your program generates.
   valid months: jan feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec
Try to generate plots sequentially not 400 at a time.

FTP2U Warning
As of 1/2005, FTP2U will be replaced by a new method to download data. This method is (1) faster, (2) consumes fewer server resources, (3) super easy to automate/script, (4) doesn't require server scripts and (5) makes our life easier.

You are strongly urged to change to the new method.

Fair Use/System Busy:
2/2007: We all want to get our work done as quickly as possible. Nothing wrong with that. However, sending 100 jobs a second actually causes the machine to get less done. Asking if the forecast is ready (10 * second * 30 files * 10 users ) puts a severe load on the system. We've had many cases where a flood of file queries caused all the web applications to shut down. So we started using the firewall to deny access to IP addresses. So if get too many errors, submit too many jobs/minute, submit too many resouce intensive jobs/minute, suck up all the bandwidth, your IP address may be turned off at the firewall. If you go over some limit, the firewall rejects your IP address for periods, of 20 seconds, 60 seconds, 8 minutes, a day and even forever. The penalty has a degree of randomness just like real life. Triggering the time out depends on system load and we also periodically retune the parameters. So don't expect a script that "floods" the system today will work next week.

Network Problems or Bad Configuration: User Reports
If the files are not up to date, contact the person(s) responsible for the data set.
If most of the files are missing, contact the person(s) responsible and me ( as someone has probably moved, renamed, deleted the files.
If your browser says that Server 1 or 2 will not respond, we either have a broken network, workstation or web server. Not much you can do about network problems. By the time the email gets through, the problem is fixed. As for a dead workstation, that gets noticed pretty quickly during business hours. For the non-business hours, the workstation people do not work 24x7. Now for a dead web server. try another server. If the server is really dead, a cron job will try to restart the server every few hours. Doesn't hurt complaining to or
The most frequent problem is when the software complains about a "Network or Configuration Problem". This is usually caused by a stale NFS handle. You can check for this problem by checking a number of similar datasets. Send a message to or and we forward the message to the system people to reboot the machine.
For problems with server3, contact

Making Plots and Downloading Data Automatically
Plotting with the browser is fun for the first 10,000 plots. However, after the 10,001 plot you may wonder whether there is a better way. Well, there is. Get a copy of wwwgrab and put your web requests into a cron or batch job. There are examples for downloading gdas and mrf plots. Before you go wild with making plots, remember that each plot still takes that same time to generate. By the way, wwwgrab has been used to automate downloading data from the FTP2U server (see example).
If you routinely make prints of the plots, you should consider using wwwgrab. You can automate the downloading and printing of the postscript version of the plots. The postscript version is so much sharper than the png. No examples are provided but it is so easy that even I can do it.

Note: Selectable color range - set white=0 for anomaly plots
You can download raw time series data into your spreadsheets.
Animation is available. The animation facility, however, is not for the populace. It requires (1) X windows, (2) a fast connection (56K modems are not fast) and (3) a real TCP/IP address (people behind a firewall need not apply). Use xkill to stop an animation.
Last Resort for firewall and slow FTP PROBLEMS.
Font too small? Run your display at 800x600, use IE and make your local web designer happy.

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Page last modified: November 5, 2002
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