National Climatic Data Center

National Climatic Data Center

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The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 is the world's largest active archive
Archive
An archive is a collection of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of an organization...

 of weather
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...

 data
Data
The term data refers to qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables. Data are typically the results of measurements and can be the basis of graphs, images, or observations of a set of variables. Data are often viewed as the lowest level of abstraction from which...

. The center became established in late 1951, with the move into the new facility occurring in early 1952.

The Center has more than 150 years of data on hand with 224 gigabyte
Gigabyte
The gigabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information storage. The prefix giga means 109 in the International System of Units , therefore 1 gigabyte is...

s of new information added each day. NCDC archives 99 percent of all NOAA data, including over 320 million paper records; 2.5 million microfiche records; over 1.2 petabyte
Petabyte
A petabyte is a unit of information equal to one quadrillion bytes, or 1000 terabytes. The unit symbol for the petabyte is PB...

s of digital
Digital
A digital system is a data technology that uses discrete values. By contrast, non-digital systems use a continuous range of values to represent information...

 data residing in a mass storage
Mass storage
In computing, mass storage refers to the storage of large amounts of data in a persisting and machine-readable fashion. Devices and/or systems that have been described as mass storage include tape libraries, RAID systems, hard disk drives, magnetic tape drives, optical disc drives, magneto-optical...

 environment. NCDC has satellite
Satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

 weather images back to 1960.

Data are received from a wide variety of sources, including satellites, radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

, automated airport weather station
Automated airport weather station
Automated airport weather stations are automated sensor suites which are designed to serve aviation and meteorological observing needs for safe and efficient aviation operations and weather forecasting...

s, NWS
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service , once known as the Weather Bureau, is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government...

 cooperative observers, aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

, ship
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

s, radiosonde
Radiosonde
A radiosonde is a unit for use in weather balloons that measures various atmospheric parameters and transmits them to a fixed receiver. Radiosondes may operate at a radio frequency of 403 MHz or 1680 MHz and both types may be adjusted slightly higher or lower as required...

s, wind profiler
Wind profiler
A wind profiler is a type of weather observing equipment that uses radar or sound waves to detect the wind speed and direction at various elevations above the ground. Readings are made at each kilometer above sea level, up to the extent of the troposphere...

s, rocketsonde
Rocketsonde
A rocketsonde, a kind of sounding rocket, is a system for atmospheric observations that consists of a rocket that launches instruments that can make weather observations up to an altitude of 75,000 m. Common meteorological rockets are the Loki and Super Loki.A typical rocket is 3.7 m tall and is...

s, solar radiation networks, and NWS Forecast/Warnings/Analyses Products.

The Center provides historical perspectives on climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 which are vital to studies on global climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, the greenhouse effect
Greenhouse effect
The greenhouse effect is a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases, and is re-radiated in all directions. Since part of this re-radiation is back towards the surface, energy is transferred to the surface and the lower atmosphere...

, and other environmental issues. The Center stores information essential to industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

, agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, hydrology
Hydrology
Hydrology is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability...

, transportation, recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

, and engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

.

The NCDC says:

Evidence is mounting that global climate is changing. The extent to which man is responsible is still under study. Regardless of the causes, it is essential that a baseline of long-term climate data be compiled; therefore, global data must be acquired, quality controlled, and archived. Working with international institutions such as the International Council of Scientific Unions, the World Data Centers, and the World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization
The World Meteorological Organization is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 189 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization , which was founded in 1873...

, NCDC develops standards by which data can be exchanged and made accessible.



NCDC provides the historical perspective on climate. Through the use of over a hundred years of weather observations, reference data bases are generated. From this knowledge the clientele of NCDC can learn from the past to prepare for a better tomorrow. Wise use of our most valuable natural resource, climate, is the goal of climate researchers, state and regional climate centers, business, and commerce.


NCDC also maintains World Data Center for Meteorology, Asheville. The four World Centers (US, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

) have created a free and open atmosphere in which data and dialogue are exchanged.

NCDC maintains the US Climate Reference Network
US Climate Reference Network
The US Climate Reference Network Program was begun in 2002 and remains under construction with an expected completion date in late 2008. It has the long-term commitment of the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration...

 datasets amongst a vast number of other climate monitoring products. The current director of the center is Tom Karl, a lead author on three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 science assessments.

See also

  • Climate Prediction Center
    Climate Prediction Center
    The Climate Prediction Center is one of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, which are a part of NOAA's National Weather Service. It is located in Camp Springs, Maryland.-Products:...

  • Environmental data rescue
    Environmental data rescue
    Environmental data rescue is a collection of processes, including photography and scanning, that stores historical and modern environmental data in a usable format. The data is then analyzed and used in scientific models...

  • National Severe Storms Laboratory
    National Severe Storms Laboratory
    The National Severe Storms Laboratory is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather research laboratory located at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma....

  • State of the Climate
    State of the Climate
    The State of the Climate is an annual report that is produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center ....

  • Storm Prediction Center
    Storm Prediction Center
    The Storm Prediction Center , located in Norman, Oklahoma, is tasked with forecasting the risk of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the contiguous United States. The agency issues convective outlooks, mesoscale discussions, and watches as a part of this process...