National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)


The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States, responsible for preserving, monitoring, and providing public access to the nation’s climate and historical weather data. It serves as the world’s largest active archive of weather and climate data, offering a vast range of climate information and services. The NCDC plays a crucial role in researching and understanding changes in the climate and their impact on the environment.

Key Takeaways

  1. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is the world’s largest active archive of weather and climate data, housed under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States.
  2. NCDC maintains and provides access to a broad range of climate datasets, including temperature, precipitation, and satellite data, supporting research, forecasting, and decision-making related to climate impact.
  3. Researchers, scientists, and the general public can access the data and services provided by NCDC through online portals, with the aim of enhancing understanding of earth’s climate and promoting efficient use of resources and planning for a sustainable future.


The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is an essential institution that plays a critical role in the assessment, preservation, and provision of climate and historical weather data for the United States.

Operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the NCDC is vital for scientists, researchers, and policymakers seeking valuable information to monitor climate trends, analyze environmental changes, and develop effective strategies for mitigating potential hazards, such as hurricanes, droughts, and floods.

The data accumulated by NCDC supports various sectors, including agriculture, air and water quality management, energy and infrastructure planning, and even insurance, enabling accurate risk assessment and efficient decision-making processes.

Consequently, the NCDC significantly contributes to enhancing environmental sustainability and ensuring the well-being of current and future generations.


The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) serves a crucial role in the collection, preservation, and dissemination of climatic data on a national scale. Its primary purpose is to provide valuable climate information that aids in understanding our planet’s past, present, and future climate conditions.

By offering accurate and reliable climate data, the NCDC supports a wide range of applications, such as the study of climate patterns, natural resource management, environmental impact assessments, and policy-making decisions. Researchers, educators, government agencies, and various industries all rely on NCDC’s wealth of data to make informed choices and create effective solutions to the challenges posed by the Earth’s ever-changing climate.

To achieve its goals, the NCDC utilizes advanced technologies and tools to gather diverse data sets, such as temperature, precipitation, and hurricane records, from local and international sources. This data is then analyzed, monitored, and archived in various formats for easy access by stakeholders.

The NCDC ensures the integrity and consistency of the collected data by constantly scrutinizing its quality, allowing for a comprehensive analysis of climate trends and patterns. By providing an extensive database and expert analysis, the National Climatic Data Center greatly contributes to enhancing our knowledge and understanding of the complex relationship between climate and the environment, ultimately helping to promote informed decisions and sustainable practices geared towards our planet’s well-being.

Examples of National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), now known as the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), is responsible for collecting and preserving climate and weather related data for the United States. Here are three real-world examples of the NCDC’s work and impact:

Hurricane data analysis: When a hurricane or tropical storm strikes, publicly available data from the NCDC is used by meteorologists, researchers, and emergency management authorities to assess the situation and develop strategies to minimize the impacts. The NCDC archives hurricane data, making it easy to compare the intensity and paths of past and present storms, which can help improve future hurricane preparedness and mitigation plans.

Drought monitoring and assessment: The NCDC compiles and provides data on precipitation, temperature, and other factors that contribute to drought conditions. Government agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), use this data for assessing and predicting drought severity and duration, leading to better water resource management and agricultural planning.

Climate change research: The NCDC maintains extensive datasets on temperature, precipitation, and numerous other climatological factors dating back over a century. Researchers, scientists, and policymakers use this information to study long-term climate trends, assess human impacts on the environment, and develop data-driven strategies to cope with the effects of climate change. For example, the historical temperature records have been crucial in showing the rise in global temperatures since the industrial revolution.


National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) FAQs

What is the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)?

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is a U.S. organization responsible for preserving, monitoring, and providing public access to the country’s climate and historical weather data. It serves as a valuable resource for researchers, businesses, and the public to understand weather trends and patterns.

Who manages the NCDC?

The NCDC is managed and operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Commerce.

What types of data does the NCDC provide?

The NCDC offers a wide range of climate and weather data, including temperature records, precipitation data, satellite imagery, radar data, and data from weather stations across the country. Additionally, the NCDC maintains several comprehensive climate datasets that help researchers study and understand climate change and its impacts.

How can I access data from the NCDC?

Data from the NCDC can be accessed through their Climate Data Online (CDO) system. This web-based platform allows users to search, visualize, and download various types of climate and weather data. You can visit the CDO website at to start accessing the data.

Is there a fee to access NCDC data?

Most of the data provided by the NCDC is freely available to the public, and users can download the data without incurring any charges. However, certain custom datasets and services may require payment, depending on the scope and complexity of the request.


Related Technology Terms

  • Climate Monitoring
  • Weather Data Archive
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Meteorological Observations
  • Climate Data Retrieval

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