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Display and Conversion Tools

Downloaded radar data is in a unique digital binary format. To visualize and decode the data the use of special software is necessary. Several free visualization, analysis, and decoding tools are available for download.

Visualize Radar Data

  • NCEI Radar Software
    NCEI's Weather and Climate Toolkit is Java™-based software that visualizes WSR-88D Level-II and Level-III Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) and Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) data, including data from the NCEI archive. 
  • Unidata Software
    The Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) from Unidata is a Java™-based software framework for analyzing and visualizing geoscience data. The IDV brings together the ability to display and work with satellite imagery, gridded data, surface observations, balloon soundings, NWS WSR-88D Level-II and Level-III Radar data, and NOAA National Profiler Network data, all within a unified interface.
  • National Severe Storms Laboratory/Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (NSSL/CIMMS) Software
    The Warning Decision Support System–Integrated Information (WDSS-II) is the second generation of a suite of algorithms and displays for severe weather analysis, warnings, and forecasting. Extensive C++ API, 3D analysis, data mining, real-time algorithms, and storm-tracking capabilities are available for the Linux platform only.
  • Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) Software
    McIDAS-V is a free, open source, visualization and data analysis software package that is the fifth generation in SSEC's 40-year history of sophisticated McIDAS (Man computer Interactive Data Access System) software packages. McIDAS-V displays weather satellite (including hyperspectral) and other geophysical data (including NEXRAD) in two and three dimensions, and it can be used to analyze and manipulate the data with its powerful mathematical functions.

Convert and Analyze Radar Data

  • NCEI Radar Software
    The Weather and Climate Toolkit allows the export of data to common scientific formats such as Shapefile, Arc/Info ASCII Grid, Gridded NetCDF, and more.
  • National Weather Service Common Operations and Development Environment (CODE) Software
    CODE provides a "clone" of a WSR-88D Radar Product Generator on a workstation, which can run existing and user-created algorithms by ingesting WSR-88D Archive level-II data. A secondary use of CODE is studying past weather events by ingesting Level-II data obtained from the NCEI website and creating products for analysis.
  • NASA Radar Software Library
    In support of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission's Global Validation Program, NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Satellite Validation Office has developed a Radar Software Library for working with the various input radar formats. This is an object-oriented library written in C. The library includes several command-line utilities and conversion between several Radar formats.
  • The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Radx Library
    The Radx C++ library was developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research to provide support for the new CfRadial radar data format, and to provide translation between common radar data formats. The library includes several command-line utilities and conversion between several Radar formats, including NEXRAD.
  • Department of Energy (DOE) Py-ART
    Py-ART is a Python module containing a collection of weather radar algorithms and utilities. Py-ART has the ability to read from a number of common weather radar formats, including Sigmet/IRIS, MDV, CF/Radial, UF, and NEXRAD Level II archive files. Radar data can be written to NetCDF files, which conform to the CF/Radial convention.

Radar Data APIs and Examples

Many of the applications listed above are also Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These APIs provide support for decoding and integrating Radar data in multiple programming languages. Check out this list of decoding utilities and examples for more information.

Real-Time Radar Data

Real-time Level-III images and data are available from the National Weather Service.

Level-II data is also available in real time. Please read the NOAA Press Release for more information.