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Service Records Retention System (SRRS)

A National Weather Service graphical depiction of weather over the continental United States for Sunday, January 1, 2012, at 13 UTC

A National Weather Service graphical depiction of weather over the continental United States for Sunday, January 1, 2012, at 13 UTC. A well-defined cold front is shown stretching from the Great Lakes to Texas. This image was downloaded through NOMADS.

The Service Records Retention System (SRRS) stores weather observations, summaries, forecasts, warnings, and advisories provided by the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) for public use. SRRS products are legally mandated by Congress for archival at NCEI, and they are retained for a five-year period. Customers often use SRRS records for accident investigations and litigations. Three broad categories of SRRS data exist: observations, forecasts, and graphics. Observations are typically text products while forecasts are both text and graphical. The graphics category of SRRS data contains images of surface analysis, standard layer upper air analyses, weather depictions, radar summaries, and ocean products. Coverage of these data is both global and regional.

All categories of SRRS data are available through NCEI. SRRS graphic products are available for download through the NOAA Operational Model Archive and Distribution System (NOMADS). Some data are converted for viewing as images through an online web application (web app). NCEP Charts, which are not a part of SRRS, are included in the access tables below.

To assist you with decoding binary SRRS files on your local computer, a Perl script exists to scan local files and then index and extract messages. To download this script, right-click on the following link and "Save Link As..." a file without the "_.txt" extension. For questions regarding this script, please email the NOMADS team.

Product Types

Product Grid/Scale Period of Record Model Cycle Output Timestep Data Access Links
SRRS and NCEP Charts (Images Displayed through Web App) Various 01Feb1994–Present Daily, various cycles Various Web App
SRRS and NCEP Charts (GIF Files) Various 01Feb1994–15Jul2006 Daily, various cycles Various FTP HTTPS
SRRS and NCEP Charts (Daily TAR Files) Various 12Apr2005–Present Daily, various cycles Various HAS
SRRS Text Products N/A 26Apr2001–Present Daily Various HAS
SRRS Binary (GRIB) Various 26Apr2001–Present Daily, various cycles Various TDS

SRRS Binary (BIN and PCX)

Various 26Apr2001–Present Daily, various cycles Various FTP HTTPS

Data Usage Notes


Newer NCEP Charts, those after 2004, are generally GIF and JPEG image formats, while older charts are in a less widely used 8-bit graphics and DFAX (radio fax charts) formats.

SRRS BIN archive units contain multiple binary clustered file units that consist of a concatenation of various binary formats, the vast majority being GRIBv1, GRIBv2, and BUFR.

The Pictoral (PCX) archive units contain several file units that are concatenated clusters of graphical formats. Unidata's GEMPAK is required to use some of them. Identifing many of these products can be difficult and there is no official documentation. Photoshop and other such programs may or may not be able to identify them.

The untarred form of the BIN and PCX archive units (BIN and PCX file extensions) may be found at the bottom of the individual directory listings through the SRRS Binary (BIN and PCX) access link.

Publication References


Miscellaneous Documentation