National Climatic Data Center

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National Climatic Data Center
Agency overview
Formed 1934 (1934)
Dissolved 2015 (2015)
Superseding agency
Jurisdiction United States government
Headquarters Asheville, North Carolina
Annual budget $65 million (2013)[1]
Agency executive

The United States National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), previously known as the National Weather Records Center (NWRC), in Asheville, North Carolina was the world's largest active archive of weather data. Starting as a tabulation unit in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1934, the climate records were transferred to Asheville in 1951, becoming named the National Weather Records Center (NWRC). It was later renamed the National Climatic Data Center, with relocation occurring in 1993. In 2015, it was merged with the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) and the National Oceanic Data Center (NODC) into the NCEI.[2]

Courtesy of: National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, February 2015


In 1934, a tabulation unit was established in New Orleans, Louisiana to process past weather records. Climate records and upper air observations were punched onto cards in 1936. This organization was transferred to Asheville, North Carolina in 1951, where the National Weather Records Center (NWRC) was established.[3] It was housed in the Grove Arcade Building in Asheville, North Carolina. Processing of the climate data was accomplished at Weather Records Processing Centers at Chattanooga, Tennessee, Kansas City, Missouri, and San Francisco, California, until January 1, 1963 when it became consolidated with the NWRC.[4] This name was maintained by the agency through 1967.[5] The NCDC was then housed at the Veach-Baley Federal Complex in downtown Asheville where it moved after the building's completion in 1995. In 2015, NCDC merged with the National Geophysical Data Center and the National Oceanographic Data Center to form the National Centers for Environmental Information.[2]

Archived data

National Climatic Data Center, December 23, 1994 (GIBBS GOES-7 imagery)

The Center had more than 150 years of data on hand with 224 gigabytes 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 petabytes of digital data residing in a mass storage environment. NCDC has satellite weather images back to 1960.


Data are received from a wide variety of sources, including weather satellites, radar, automated airport weather stations, NWS cooperative observers, aircraft, ships, radiosondes, wind profilers, rocketsondes, solar radiation networks, and NWS Forecast/Warnings/Analyses Products.

Climate focus

The Center provides historical perspectives on climate which are vital to studies on global climate change, the greenhouse effect, and other environmental issues. The Center stores information essential to industry, agriculture, science, hydrology, transportation, recreation, and engineering.

The NCDC states:

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, 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.[6]

Associated entities

NCDC also maintains World Data Center for Meteorology, Asheville. The four World Centers (U.S., Russia, Japan and China) have created a free and open situation in which data and dialogue are exchanged.

NCDC maintains the US Climate Reference Network datasets amongst a vast number of other climate monitoring products.[7] The current director of the center is Tom Karl, a lead author on three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change science assessments.[8]

See also


  1. Osborne, Susan; Vincent, Katy (eds.). "2013 Annual Report" (PDF). NCDC. p. 29. Retrieved 20 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. Staff (May 1961). "Forecasts and Warnings" (PDF). Weather Bureau Topics. United States Weather Bureau: 82. Retrieved 2012-04-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Staff (January 1963). "WRPC Consolidation Nears Completion at Asheville NWRC" (PDF). United States Weather Bureau: 7. Retrieved 2012-04-22. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Luther Thigpen (October 1966). "Weather Facts Find Ever Expanding Market" (PDF). ESSA World. Environmental Satellite Services Administration: 14. Retrieved 2012-04-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. NCDC: What Is NCDC?
  7. NCDC: Climate Monitoring
  8. Pearce, Fred, The Climate Files: The Battle for the Truth about Global Warming, (2010) Guardian Books, ISBN 978-0-85265-229-9, p. XVIII.

External links