NOAA/National Centers for Environmental Information
NOAA's Weather and Climate Toolkit

New Features in the NOAA Weather and Climate Toolkit (Viewer / Exporter)

Version 4.7.x

Multiple Dimension Support for Grid Exports

The selection of multiple times, runtimes and heights are now supported in the Data Export tool. The output file names will be appended with the dimension index value, such as '-t0', '-t1', '-z3', '-rt5'.

Update of Background Maps and Themes

The background maps have been updated to use a new service from ESRI along with several Open Street Map (OSM) layers. A new map theme (Streets - OSM) was also added.

Improved support for remote URL directories

The listings of remote URL directories now includes child directories, which may be selected and listed.

Bugs fixed:
Internal refactoring to upgrade background threading used in user interface to use the current best practices, fixing a bug found on some versions of Macs.
Upgrade Unidata ToolsUI to version toolsUI-4.6.17-20210713.150601-3 to support newest GRIB2 tables/structures used for newest MRMS products from NOAA/NCEP.
Fixed bug refreshing map when displaying Radial NetCDF files.
Upgraded supporting UI library (jide).
Fixed Level-III NEXRAD range filter option when batch processing.

Bugfix releases:
Changed 'No Data' values for GeoTIFF output to always be Float.NaN, instead of dynamically calculated and set from the min value in the data.
Added support for files with standard bzip2 compression (.bz2 extension).
Fixed Level-III error message shown when viewing NEXRAD alphanumeric products from a single file/URL data source.
Fixed bug that prevented showing resample cell size options for large lat/lon grids that trigger dynamic resampling to conserve memory.
Library updates.
Added Level-III NEXRAD Rain Rate Classification product.
Changed name of NOAA 'Big Data' to NOAA 'Open Data'.
Added GOES-18 support to NOAA Open Data Dissemination tab.

Version 4.6.x

Level-III NEXRAD from the NOAA Big Data tab

Level-III data is now available from the NOAA Big Data tab, allowing direct downloads of daily NEXRAD Level-III archive files from the Google Cloud. The files are in tar.gz format and contain thousands of product files per day. After downloading the file, the Toolkit will prompt the user to choose a local directory to unpack these thousands of files.

Math Tool - Addition of Count Operation

The Math Tool now includes a count operation. This operation counts the number of times the data values are not null or 'No Data'. This can be combined with the Filter (under the 'Tools' menu) to count the number of times data has exceeded a value across a time series of grids, either across the time dimension or across multiple files.

Animation Tool - Addition of Copy Image ability

There is now a button that allows individual animation frames to be copied to the system clipboard.

Support for TDWR Level-II NEXRAD Data

Level-II TDWR data is now supported. The data is available from the NOAA Big Data tab as well as orders from NCEI.

Command-line Batch Export Tool - addition of Math support

There are now command-line tools to do the math operations. The script is 'wct-math' (wct-math.bat on Windows). Example: >>> ./wct-math nexrad-file-list.txt exported-data/max-reflectivity.tif tif32 MAX wctBatchConfig.xml

Bugfix releases:
Fixed bug with missing shadow image for gridded KMZ output not clamped to the ground.
Upgraded NetCDF-Java library, adding support for new Level-II Differential Reflectivity scale/offset values introduced in Build 19.
Expanded legend for Level-II Differential Reflectivity, now distinguishing values from -13 to -7.9 and from +7.9 to +20.
Refreshed NEXRAD site location database from NWS, improving location and elevation accuracy and reconciling differences found between NCEI station metadata database and NWS Radar Operations Center. The elevation displayed and used for Level-II data now uses the combined height of site ground elevation above sea level, plus tower height, plus feed horn height.
Added Graticule layer to Background Maps lists #2 and #3.
Fixed bug in 'Math Tool' when processing multiple NEXRAD L2 files with non-Reflectivity variables selected.
Added informational text and example for multiple filter ranges in the 'Filter' tool.

Version 4.5.x


An Auto-Reload timer now allows the automatic reloading of the currently selected data source.

Map Theme Presents

Common combinations of overlay colors and map backgrounds are now quickly available in the upper right part of the main map window.

Initial Support for Scattered Point Data

Initial support has been added for scattered point data (that do not have a time series of data). Examples include Global Lightning Mapper (GLM) and ICOADS NetCDF data.

Addition of NWS Real-Time Level-3 Radar

Convenient access to the NWS Level-3 radar data is now available through the 'Services' menu, under 'Data Collections' section.

Bug fixes:
Fixed bug where some gridded files remained open and locked preventing cache cleaning.
Bug fixes and improvements in the graphing and display of time series data.
Adjustment of TDWR Radar product legends.
Fixed bug in legends of DVL and NET Level-3 Radar products.
Version 4.5.1 bug fixes:
Fixed transparency issue with first category of some Level-3 data products during animations.
Fixed custom color map bug resetting to default after each new load for Level-3 products.
Version 4.5.2 bug fixes:
Addition of 'Beta' wct-math script entry points to use WCT Math capabilities in batch mode.
Addition of TDWR sites to NOAA Big Data NEXRAD sources, as TDWR Level-II data is now available.

Version 4.4.x

Additional GOES-16/GOES-17 products

Added L2, Fire Detection and GLM products for GOES 16/17 in the 'NOAA Big Data' access tab.

New Keyboard Shortcuts

The combinations of Control-Down/Right for next file and Control-Up/Left for previous file are now available when the primary map, data selector, radial or grid properties windows are focused. The next and previous files are selected from the current list results in the 'Data Selector' window.

Addition of NWS Forecast Database and Outlooks

Convenient access to the NWS Forecast and Outlook data is now available through the 'Services' menu, under 'Data Collections' section.

Update of site metadata from NCEI HOMR system for NEXRAD sites. Fixes spelling error for KSOX and increases precision for TDWR site locations.
Fix bug in BDP listing of GOES-16/17 data to include other 'M' scan types used since April 2019.
Fix legend and color map bug for several Level-3 Radar products.
Bugfix for 'Use Cache' settings in View Properties -> Cache. A restart of WCT is no longer needed for enabling/disabling the use of the data file cache.

Version 4.3.x

Drought and Climate Monitoring Product Support

The drought and climate monitoring products based on states and counties, in addition to climate divisions, are now supported in the WCT. These products are available from the 'Services' menu, then select 'Data Collections' >>> 'NOAA/NCEI Climate Monitoring' >>> 'Climate Division Products'

GOES-17 Direct Access

Through cooperative activities as a part of NOAA's Big Data Project, GOES-17 data are available for direct download from the Amazon S3 storage. The Toolkit's 'Data Selector' has been enhanced to provide direct access to the GOES-17 data that resides in the cloud infrastructures.

Fixed bug for Level-2 Radar data that uses negative elevation angles.
Batch processing now supports direct https connections, in addition to http and ftp.
Fixed bug when displaying Level-3 product overlays with graphic backgrounds, where last graphic background still displayed after being set to 'none'.

Version 4.3.1 Bugfixes:
Fixed bug in User Selectable Digital Precipitation Level-3 Radar product legend display.
Changed default cache directory from user.home to java.tmpdir, which is preferred for portable profile situations.

Version 4.2.x

Marker Editor Improvements

Ability to change size, font and color

CAPPI Support in Batch Export

CAPPI support is now included in the batch export tool, and includes multiple heights and selection between 'height-above-radar' and 'height-above-MSL'. See the batch processing page or tutorial for more information and examples.

Station Observation Forms

Added the ability to access station observation from from 1880 to present. Page removal is now supported when building a custom collection of pages in a PDF.

GeoJSON Output of Polygons

The GeoJSON output format now supports polygons, which are created from Radar range bins (Level-2 and Level-3). This feature was contributed by Alex Neises. Thanks Alex!

Zoomable Animation Window

Zooming is now supported for the animation window. Left click zooms in, while right click zooms out. Mouse wheel zooming is also supported.


Fixed web directory used for CLASS Orders
Updated to new https protocol for SPC Storm Reports.
Added manual resolution configuration for Level-III DSP product
Minor change in projection used for remapped Level-II Radar rasters, from Unidata 'Flat Earth' to NAD83 Azimuthal Equidistant which has always been used for vector export formats.

Version 4.2.1 Bugfixes:
Changed geocoder provider from Google to ESRI. Google no longer allows anonymous geocoding and requires using a registered account and API token.
Fixed rendering bug when zooming into animations.

Version 4.1.x

NOAA Big Data Project - GOES-16 Direct Access

The NOAA Big Data Project (BDP) is an innovative approach to publishing NOAA's vast data resources and positioning them near cost-efficient high performance computing, analytic, and storage services provided by the private sector. This collaboration combines three powerful resources - NOAA's tremendous volume of high quality environmental data and advanced data products, private industry's vast infrastructure and technical capacity, and the American economy's innovation and energy - to create a sustainable, market-driven ecosystem that lowers the cost barrier to data publication.

Through cooperative activities as a part of NOAA's Big Data Project, GOES-16 data are available for direct download from the Amazon S3 storage. The Toolkit's 'Data Selector' has been enhanced to provide direct access to the GOES-16 data that resides in the cloud infrastructures.

Drought and Climate Monitoring Product Support

The drought and climate monitoring products based on climate divisions are now supported in the WCT. These products are available from the 'Services' menu, then select 'Data Collections' >>> 'NOAA/NCEI Climate Monitoring' >>> 'Climate Division Products'

Version 4.1.0 Bugfixes:
Increased resolution of states and county overlays.
Fixed bug in initializing Batch export tool via wct-export scripts.
Fixed bug in reading 'time lon lat' ordered grids.
Reduced memory consumption for enormous grids.
Fixed user interface bug when exporting grid results from the 'Math Tool'.

Version 4.1.1 Bugfixes:
Fixed bug in the export resolution of raster formats. The bug had hard-coded the export grid size to 1800.
Added a check for the extra block sections found in the newer Level-3 Radar NVW products.
Fixed legend bug for N*U Level-III NEXRAD products when viewed as background to a product overlays.
Added color and font selection to Marker Editor.
Added 'Edit' button and capability to Marker Editor.
Changed Grid/Satellite legend to use the parsed 'display' name for the legend title if available. The parsed 'display name is already used in the Data Selector when available.
Removed low-resolution Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands shapes from global countries layer, since high resolution shapes for these areas are included in the 'States' layer.

Version 4.0.x

NOAA Big Data Project - Level-II NEXRAD Direct Access

The NOAA Big Data Project (BDP) is an innovative approach to publishing NOAA's vast data resources and positioning them near cost-efficient high performance computing, analytic, and storage services provided by the private sector. This collaboration combines three powerful resources - NOAA's tremendous volume of high quality environmental data and advanced data products, private industry's vast infrastructure and technical capacity, and the American economy's innovation and energy - to create a sustainable, market-driven ecosystem that lowers the cost barrier to data publication.

Through cooperative activities as a part of NOAA's Big Data Project, the full historical archive of NEXRAD Level-II data is available for direct download from the Amazon S3 storage. The Toolkit's 'Data Selector' has been enhanced to provide direct access to the NEXRAD data that resides in the cloud infrastructures.

GeoJSON Export Format

GeoJSON is now supported as a point/polygon export format.

Point Subset Tool

The Point Subset Tool allows the extraction of a single value from a data layer (Grid or Radial) based on location. Marker features are used to define the location of the data extraction.

Station Data Support

Station Data (from CF-compliant NetCDF files) support has been enhanced to include the data export of the station locations to Shapefile/WKT/GeoJSON and export of the timeseries data to CSV.

Level-3 NEXRAD Alphanumeric Animations

Animations of NEXRAD Level-3 Alphanumeric Products will now include the selected background product.

Snapshot Layer Enhancements

The list of snapshot layers has been moved to a dedicated tab. A snapshot button is now included on the left button bar on the main map view. Snapshot layers can be exported to a raster format.

Support for NEXRAD Level-3 Melting Layer, Digital User Selected Precipitation Accumulation and Free Text Message products

The Melting Layer product (N0M, NAM, N1M, NBM, N2M and N3M product codes) is now supported as an NEXRAD Level-3 Overlay Product. The Digital User Selected Precipitation Accumulation (DU3 and DU6) and Free Text Message (FTM) products are now also supported.

NWS Preliminary Storm Reports

Preliminary Storm Reports (tornado, hail, wind) may be viewed within the Toolkit. This tool is available from the 'Services' menu. Level-2 NEXRAD data can be loaded directly from the tool. After selecting a report, the Level-2 NEXRAD data for the closest site and date/time may be directly loaded, by leveraging the Big Data Project storage of Level-2 NEXRAD.

NCEI Station Observation Forms

This tool uses two NCEI web service APIs to provide simple, direct access to easy-to-read form of temperature and precipitation data from the GHCN-Daily station network. The tool is available from the 'Services' menu. First, the tool will list and plot available stations. Then after the user selects a station, a monthly form may be directly loaded. The document viewer allows each monthly form to be added as a new page. The user may print or save their custom built document as a PDF.

Version 4.0.3 Bugfixes:
Changed NCEI resources from http to https following NCEI change to https-only.

Version 4.0.2 Bugfixes:
Fixed Radar CAPPIs that were not filtering RF values correctly.
Fixed bug in 'Export Frames' for unrecognized file formats.
Added filename parsing support for .ar2v files.
Rebuilt ASOS base map layer from current NCEI metadata repository (HOMR)
Enabled CSV export format for Radial data

Version 4.0.3 Bugfixes:
NCEI changed web servers to only allow https, which broke some background map layers, use of an order number in the data selector and previous web start installations. This release fixes these issues and removed the web start launch option, which had become increasingly difficult to maintain due to enhanced web start security requirements.

Version 4.0.4 Bugfixes:
Updated Windows and Mac distribution build processes. This fixed .exe and .app bundle launch problems that occurred for some users.

Version 4.0.5 Bugfixes:
Updated several supporting libraries.
Added support for commas used inside of labels in the CSV import/export of Markers, through the addition of enclosing quotes for the label fields.
Fixed bug in Point Subset Tool: Level-II Radar data subsets always used the Reflectivity variable.
Fixed bug in Session opening that prevented the use of data from a 'NOAA Big Data' source.
Upgraded NetCDF for Java library.
Fixed bug in snapshot export and NetCDF export.
Fixed bug in GOES max extent bounds calculation.
Fixed bug in Gridded NetCDF export, which had previously incorrectly adjusted to use the grid cell centroids instead of the corners for the lat/lon coordinate variables.

Version 4.0.6 Bugfixes:
Fixed bug when using Satellite color palette.

Version 3.7

Station Data Support

Basic support for Station Time Series data in NetCDF structured according to the Discrete Sampling Geometries definitions in the CF Conventions. Point, Profile and Trajectory structures are not supported yet.

Command-Line Export Support for the KMZ Export Format

KMZ output is now supported when exporting from the command-line using the batch processing command-line 'wct-export' script. Please refer to the exportKmlOptions section in the wctBatchConfig.xml file which comes with the distribution. There is also an example palette file used to color the data. Further documentation and examples are under development.

Upgrades to supporting libraries

NetCDF for Java API has been upgraded to version 4.3. The naming of GRIB variables has changed in some cases, which could cause problems with batch export scripts when running from the command-line.

Improvements to KML Isosurface output

Improved isosurface output to cap at 1000 meters above highest recorded value.

Improvements to Radar Constant Altitude (CAPPI)

Interpolation methods (simple linear and inverse distance weighted squared).

General User Interface Improvements

Added Ctrl-Z support to capture images in viewer when Layer Selector is the active window. Helps when creating fade-in/out of snapshots.

AREA Format Support

Allows AREA files to be displayed as a GOES filetype when the filenames are custom and do not match the CLASS naming convention. The 'Data Type' can be set to 'GOES_SATELLITE_AREA_FORMAT' to force the decoding of AREA files.

3.7.1 bugfixes:
1) upgraded to more accurate radar site locations, based on NCDC HOMR project. Only sites with significant changes: KVWX ~(1 km).
2) Fixed error when viewing alphanumeric products from NWS Gateway FTP server.
3) Fixed OPeNDAP connection error created during NetCDF library upgrade.
4) Fixed bug in CAPPI interpolations when Range Folded values are present.
5) Improved Radar display when filtering and smoothing are used in combination.
6) Fixed bug in Station Data display when a station has no records.

3.7.2 bugfixes:
1) Fixed bug in batch export when an input directory is specified.
2) Batch command-line export of grids will now not append variable, height, time dimension indices to output filename.
3) Added import support for markers exported in CSV format.
4) Updated Java Web Start launch configuration to add new security enhancements required in Java 7 Update 45.

3.7.3 bugfixes:
1) Upgraded NetCDF-Java 4.3 library to fix bug preventing reading of V07 Level-2 NEXRAD files.
2) Fixed units bug with export of GOES Visible data to 'Gridded NetCDF' format. Units were erroneously written as 'Kelvin' and should be 'count'.
3) Removed empty variables for 'radiance' and 'calibratedData' (brightness temperature) which are empty when GOES Visible data are converted to the 'Native NetCDF' format.

3.7.4 bugfixes:
1) Upgraded code signing certificate.
2) Fixed several links to WCT help pages.

3.7.5 bugfixes:
1) Changed location of primary HAS data location.

3.7.6 bugfixes:
1) Support for new NCEI(NCDC) Radar order directory structure, which now includes sub-directories.

3.7.7 bugfixes:
1) Fixed Mac App Bundle problems.
2) Added some smarts to drag and drop behavior to detect when dropped URLs belong to NCEI HAS orders.

3.7.8 bugfixes:
1) Fixed KILN location bug, which affected Level-2 KILN data only. KILN was mislocated in the WCT lookup tables by around 1 km. The location was adjusted to the true location, around 1 km south of the previous locaiton.
2) Added support for the NLA (Low Layer Composite Reflectivity, with AP removed), which replaced the NLL product at all sites during summer 2015.

3.7.9 bugfixes:
1) Added 'sun.awt.nopixfmt=true' launch flag, as workaround for bug with tooltips present in some graphics cards.

Version 3.6

NEXRAD Dual-Polarization support

Support for the Digital Precipitation Rate product (DPR). Custom radar sites are now supported via user-supplied metadata, entered when a new site is requested.

Time Morphing

EXPERIMENTAL TOOL: Please use with caution! The time morphing tool interpolates data between two timesteps. The interpolation can be either a simple weighted average (fade in/out effect) or motion vectors can be used to add movement to the interpolation. The motion vectors can be derived from the NEXRAD Level-III Storm Structure product available in the NOAA/NCDC Severe Weather Data Inventory, or the Storm Motion variables in the RUC Model available from the NOAA/NCDC NOMADS THREDDS Server.

Simple Math Tool

There is now a simple math tool to perform min/max/sum/avg calculations across a dimension or multiple files.

Data Selector Improvements

The Data Selector tabs have been renamed to be more descriptive and easier to understand. A 'Favorites' tab has been added, which automatically saves entries to the user profile of the Toolkit. Custom lists of Favorites may be loaded and saved as well.

3.6.1 bugfixes:
1) upgrade of NetCDF Java code to fix DPR range bug caused by erroneous elevation angle values in DPR decoder.
3.6.2 bugfixes:
1) fix of unix distro run script to put wct jar first in classpath to override geotools classes if needed.
2) fixed problem with saving animated gifs due to removed library from distribution.
3) enabled decompression tool to handle .tar and .zip archive files.
4) added diff function to Math tool.
5) added support for valid_range CF-convention attribute in Layer Selector.
6) modified CLASS data source in Data Selector to support new subdirectory structure in fulfilled CLASS orders on FTP.
3.6.3 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug in cache directory initialization.
3.6.4 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug in native copy export progress monitoring.
2) added headers to html and text copy output of alphanumeric attribute tables.
3.6.5 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug in Supplemental Data dialogs.
2) added configuration for V07 NEXRAD filenames.
3) better error handling for empty or non-validating customFilenamePatterns.xml file.
4) added all-sweeps point export to Data Export Wizard.
3.6.6 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug in legend for NEXRAD Level-3 Clutter Filter product.
3.6.7 bugfixes:
1) upgraded to more accurate radar site locations, based on NCDC HOMR project. Only sites with significant changes: KVWX ~(1 km).

Version 3.5

NEXRAD Dual-Polarization support

The Level-2 Dual-Polarization moments and Level-3 Dual-Polarization products are now supported. For more information on dual-polarization and the new Level-3 NEXRAD products, please refer to:

Isosurface KMZ Generation

The generation and export of KMZ isosurfaces for Radial and Gridded Datasets is now supported. An isosurface is a three-dimensional equivalent of the two-dimensional contour line. Isosurfaces can be generated from gridded data that have a height dimension or Radial volume scan data such as Level-2 NEXRAD. The resulting KMZ can be visualized in KMZ viewers such as Google Earth. The 'Isosurface KML Generator' is located under the 'Tools' menu.

CAPPI for Radial Radar Data

CAPPI (Constant Altitude Plan Position Indicator) - a constant altitude cross-section of Radar data. To create a CAPPI, select the desired CAPPI altitude from the Radial Properties window after loading a Radar volume scan data file. Data exports also allow the selection of a CAPPI altitude instead of a specific elevation angle. CAPPI heights can be set using the 'Radial Properties' window, which appears after loading Level-II NEXRAD (or generic Radial) data.

3.5.1 bugfixes:
1) fixed styling bug when changing colors of custom local shapefiles added to the map.
2) upgrade of GRIB library now allows reading of certain problematic CFSR model products.
3) fixed bug that prevent 'draping' of images in kmz animation export.
4) fixed bug that caused animation issues when exporting a kmz animation from a reversed-order (newest to oldest) file list.
5) various minor fixes for Java 7 support.
3.5.2 bugfixes:
1) internal refactoring to clean up modules under development.
3.5.3 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug that prevented use of AVI export with JPEG compression.
3.5.4 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug that reset the transparency after a zoom refresh for unsmoothed radar data.
3.5.5 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug in libraries for saving of session files in xml format.
3.5.6 bugfixes:
1) added larger NOAA icon for improved appearance in Windows 7 task bar.
2) added link to edit custom filename patterns on the 'View Properties' -> 'Misc.' tab.
3) fixed bug when editing custom site location file for the first time from the 'View Properties' -> 'Misc.' tab.
3.5.7 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug when new users are using the 'browse' button on the local tab of the data selector
3.5.8 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug when in Grid Dataset Properties for Java 7 users
3.5.9 bugfixes:
1) fixed bug in decoding of Level-2 Differential Phase moment

Version 3.4

Variable Information Search

The Location Search dialog (tool with the 'abc' icon), has been extended to allow web searching of the current data type, variable name, variable description or units.

3-D Volume Scan Export from Level-II Radar data

The KMZ export dialog for Radar data now allows processing of multiple sweeps. The 'Sweeps To Include:' option defaults to the current sweep, but can be set to process the lowest 3, 5 or 7 sweeps in addition to the entire volume scan. When multiple sweeps exist at the same approximate elevation angle, the first sweep will be used.

Command-Line Utitilties now included

  1. 'sat2netcdf' : Conversion tool for GOES and AVHRR data. Exports data to NetCDF format. For more information, please refer to:
  2. 'cdm-checker' : Checks for CF-compliance of the data structure and determines the Unidata Common Data Model (CDM) Feature Type of the data file.
  3. 'ncmldump' : Does an 'ncdump -h' (header dump) on the NetCDF structure built by an NcML file

Minor Changes / Bugfixes:
1) Cache clearing bugs fixed (files left open after processing by AREA decoder)
2) Added registration of GEMPAK Grid decoders
3) Removed automatic version checking in the batch export script (wct-export). Version now checking occurs with this command: 'wct-export -version'

3.4.1 bugfixes:
1) Fixed velocity and spectrum width value filtering bug. Filter was in m/s, now in knots (same as legend).
3.4.1 enhancements:
1) Added labeling clutter filtering for overlay labels - improves performance and appearance.
2) Added scale factor transistions to automatically toggle between state borders and interstates at U.S. and closer zooms and U.S. borders only at U.S. to distant zooms.
3.4.2 bugfixes:
fixed lack of ui refresh for grid dataset properties.
animations - forced de-selection of 'Auto' min/max during animations.
fixed overlay bugs related to style regeneration after 'states' (background overlay) color is changed.
3.4.3 bugfixes:
fixed kmz export dialog bug for 'drape on model' exports.
3.4.4 bugfixes:
fixed minor texture mapping issue on collada models used for radar sweeps in KMZ exports.
3.4.5 bugfixes:
fixed layer drawing error for drought service. switched CLASS access tab to use FTP, instead of HTTP.
3.4.6 bugfixes:
fixed extent calculation error for GOES data exports using a custom user-defined extent.

Version 3.3

3-D Google Earth Support

Radar imagery can now be visualized in 3-D in both the internal Google Earth viewer and with exported KMZ files. The Radar image is draped on a 3-D model of the height of the center of the Radar beam. The elevation exaggeration can be selected in both the internal viewer and the exported KMZ as well.

Internal Google Earth Features

Images of the Google Earth internal viewer can now be saved to disk and copied to the clipboard.

Google Location Search

Address, city, landmark and zip code lookups are now supported using the new Location Search dialog ('abc' icon). Reverse lookups are supported by entering a lat/lon string (such as 32,-94).

Version 3.2

Snapshot Layers

Any current view may be saved as a snapshot layer, by using the 'Snapshot Layer' button in the 'Layer Selector'. IMPORTANT: Snapshot Layers represent a snapshot of a layer as it has been rendered, which are resampled values for all non lat/lon data (projected grids, GOES Satellite and Radar data). What this means is that during an 'Identify', the value of a snapshot layer does not necessarily represent the actual data value at the lat/lon requested. Rather, it represents the value of the resampled data.

Identify Layer Tool

Grid, Radar, Satellite and 'Snapshot' layers can be queried with the Identify tool. Results are shown in a text area with copy and save support. Any 'internal' point layers may be used as well, including cities, airports, asos, crn and user defined marker locations.

Irregular Grid Support (2-D Lat/Lon Coordinate Axes)

CF-compliant Grids with 2-D coordinate axes are now supported. This allows visualization and export of irregular and non-standard projected grids.

GOES 13 Support

Support and calibrations for GOES 13 data has been added.

Improved Level-II NEXRAD Performance

The processing for Level-II NEXRAD data has been changed to increase performance (faster and less memory consumption).

Data Export Batch Processing support for Gridded Data

Batch command-line processing (using the 'wct-export' script) now supports Gridded Data. Currently, the vector export types (Shapefile and WKT), will contain the point centroids of the grid cells. The XML Configuration file supports the selection of variable, time index and run time index. For more information, refer to the Batch Processing documentation on: .

Version 3.1

New Google Earth View

The integrated Google Earth view (currently only available on Windows), now has a 'split' option offering side-by-side views of Google Earth and the standard 2-D map. In this view mode, the Google Earth view is in the 'follow-along' mode, where standard 2-D map is the 'leader'.

32-bit GeoTIFF Export

The GeoTIFF export is now available in 8-bit grayscale and 32-bit real values.

THREDDS Catalog Browser

The THREDDS catalog browser in the Data Selector is vastly improved. For more information on THREDDS: . To try an example catalog, drag the catalog links (TDS = THREDDS Data Server) from this page:

Drag and Drop

Links from web browsers and other application may be dragged and dropped onto the main viewer or data selector window to list the available data in the Data Selector. In addition, files and/or directories may be dragged and dropped from the File Explorer window (Windows Explorer, Mac Finder, etc...).

Bugfix release 3.1.1:
Improvements on data filtering.

Bugfix release 3.1.2:
KMZ export bugs.

Bugfix release 3.1.3:
Frame export bug fixed for 'loaded' animations. Rock animation export now works correctly. Accidental data filtering bug fixed (filtered data less than 0 by default). Added better legend support for 'no data' found.

Bugfix release 3.1.4:
Added better user interface integration of cache controls. Fixed bug that was y-axis flipping grids with reverse longitude coordinate variables.

Version 3.0

Gridded Data Support

All CF-compliant Gridded Data (NetCDF 3/4, GRIB, HDF, GINI, GEMPAK) is now supported. All projections are supported and data is automatically resampled onto an unprojected lat/lon grid using nearest neighbor. Currently 2-dimensional coordinate variables (such as Swath or irregularly spaced grid) are not supported.

Google Earth Integration (Windows Only):

A fully functional Google Earth browser is now integrated into the Toolkit. The user will prompted to download and install the Google Earth API plugin the first time the view is used. When this view is enabled, data is rendered directly onto Google Earth. The export of KMZ files is still supported for snapshots and time animations. Work is being done to provide this support for the Mac, while the Google Earth API is not currently available for Unix/Linux.

'All Files' support:

A checkbox in the Data Selector now controls the recognized file format filtering. If the 'All Files' selection is used, non-recognized files will be visible in the Data Selector. The Data Type dropdown menu can be used to specify the format of these files when attempting to load.

OPeNDAP support:

Remote gridded files may be accessed using OPeNDAP. This is ideal for very large datasets since only the desired 'slice' (variable, time, height, etc...) is transferred.

Range-Folded Support in Level-II NEXRAD Data:

Range-Folded data is now visible in Level-II NEXRAD displays.

New Animation and Data Export Wizards:

New wizards have replaced the previous animation and data export user interfaces. The wizards are accessible from the 'Data Selector' dialog and are designed to be more user-friendly and flexible.

New features under development for a future release:

1) Capability for user to add custom WMS resource as a background map.
2) Batch processing for Gridded data.
3) Simple 'Grid Math' functions for analysis on multiple files, or dimensions within a variable.
4) Timed auto-refresh for currently loaded layer.

Version 2.5

New NEXRAD Level-III Products

New NEXRAD Level-III Products are supported including N*Q (256 level Reflectivity), N*U (256 level Velocity), DVL (Digital Vertical Integrated Liquid) and EET (Enhanced Echo Tops).

Bug Fixes:

1) Fixed KMZ export memory consumption bug.
2) Increased precision in ASCII GRID export header

Version 2.5.1 Bugfix release
Fixed minor bugs with Level-II NEXRAD Legends.

Version 2.5.2 Bugfix release
Removed confusing 'classify' option for Level-II NEXRAD data export.

Version 2.4

Marker Editor

Markers are now automatically saved as they are created or removed and restored each time the Toolkit's Marker Editor is used. The markers are stored in the user profile and are not shared between users in an multi-user environment.

Cache Settings:

The cache for data files may now be specified. The default location of the data cache is $(user.home)/.wct-cache/data, which is unique for each user. A custom shared cache location outside the user's profile may improve performance in a multi-user environment. To change the cache location, go to the 'Cache' tab on the 'View Properties' dialog ('View'-'View Properties'-'Cache').

Bug Fixes:

1) Fixed KMZ export bug for real-time NWS files (or any file named sn.xxxx).
2) Incorrect unit display in legend for TDWR velocity products.

Bugfix release 2.5.1:
Radial data legend bugfix.

Version 2.4.1 Bugfix Release:
1) Added CLASS backup FTP site, which is checked when data is not found on primary site.
2) Fixed some of the open files issues with the Level-II export.

Version 2.4.2 Bugfix Release:
1) Fixed bug with N*S Level-III NEXRAD files display.

Version 2.4.3 Bugfix Release:
1) Fixed bug in data exporter where selecting All Points Export would set all further exports to be point.
2) Removed 'height' attribute and added 'heightRel' (height relative to radar site) and 'heightASL' (height above sea level) attributes.
3) Fixed bug where time attribute was shown in local user time zone. Set back to UTC and set format to ISO yyyy-MM-dd'T'hh:mm:ss'Z' (ex: 2009-04-01T12:34:02Z)
4) Added new enhancement color table for GOES Water Vapor (BAND_03)
5) Fixed bug in batch mode command-line data exporter that caused shift in extent filter when processing directories and using gridCellResolution setting.
6) Fixed bug in large animation creation / frame export that caused data display problems after processing ~200 frames.

Version 2.3

TDWR support

The FAA TDWR (Terminal Doppler Weather Radar) network support has been added. TDWR Level-III products are available from NCDC and the NWS real-time Gateway server. While many products are identical to NEXRAD Level-III, several 'special' TDWR specific products exist. For more information, refer to the product list at: and the following documents from the Radar Operations Center:

New Level-III Product support

The Level-III products 'Digital Hybrid Reflectivity' (DHR) and 'Digital Storm Total Precipitation' (DSP) are now supported.

Return of the Point Export support

Point export of the range bin or grid cell centroid is now supported for Radar and Satellite data. This feature was removed in version 2.0 due to significant API changes. The 'All Cuts' option is also supported.


'Bookmarks' may now be saved which save the current map extent. These bookmarks are saved to the user profile and will be visible in all subsequent launchs of the Toolkit. The Bookmark Editor is available from the 'View' menu and the Bookmark button on the Toolbar.

KMZ Launch

The current view may be opened instantly in Google Earth (or whatever program is registered to the '.kmz' extension). A 'snapshot' KMZ file is written to the user's cache. This 'Launch KMZ' option is convenient for quick looks, while the 'Save KMZ' option may be used to create permanent output.

Additional Map Backgrounds

Additional Map Backgrounds including Base Maps and Imagery from ESRI (, Color Shaded Relief and Hydrologic Units.

Updated 'Interstates' Map Layer

The 'Interstates' Map Layer is now 'Major Highways' and includes major 4-lane Highways and Toll Roads.

KMZ Legend Location Changed

The location of the Legends in KMZ (Google Earth) output has changed from the top left to the upper-middle left. This change was needed because of the new location the new Time Slider in Google Earth version 5.

Version 2.3.2 Bugfix Release:
1) Changed NEXRAD HAS Orders ('NCDC' tab in Data Selector) to use server.

Version 2.3.1 Bugfix Release:
1) Fixed issue with the 'T' in the TDWR IDs parsed from TDWR files.

Version 2.2

GOES AREA file support

GOES AREA files are now supported. These files may be ordered from NOAA's CLASS system ( ). NOTE: Smoothing and Vector Data Export formats (Shapefile, WKT) are currently not supported. For a full tutorial on ordering GOES AREA files from CLASS and displaying in the Weather and Climate Toolkit, please refer to

KMZ Export

Single, non-animation, KMZ files may now be produced by selecting 'Save KMZ' from the left side bar or 'File' menu.

Look and Feel

New side bars contain buttons for displaying the Data Selector, Map Selector, Services, Image and KMZ saving options. The map and legend areas are also separated with a drop shadow border.

Temporary removal of 'Session' saving

Due to several bugs and new features under development, the 'Session' saving option is temporarily disabled.

Switch in datum from WGS84 to NAD83

NAD83 is the NOAA standard geographic coordinate system and part of the NSRS (National Spatial Reference System). The Weather and Climate Toolkit has switched from using WGS84 to NAD83 in all maps, calculations and data export. NAD83 and WGS84 are VERY similar and the differences in the data location is within several meters, which is well within the accuracy range of the input data sources (Radar, Satellite, etc...).

Adjustment to Level-II Velocity color map The color map has been extended from: -50 to +50 KT , to: -60 to +60 KT.

NWS Gateway FTP support NWS Gateway FTP support has returned! For more info on the NWS FTP server, refer to:

Bug Fixes

1) Export of XMRG data now allowed.
2) Classification bug in Level-II velocity and spectrum width products is fixed.
3) Bug in NetCDF for Java fixed for reading some V04 NEXRAD Level-II files.

Known Bugs / Limitations

1) 32-bit (floating point value) GeoTIFFs are temporarily disabled due to GeoTIFF encoding issues. 1-byte grayscale GeoTIFFs are provided in the interim. If the real values are needed, the ASCII GRID format is recommended.
2) NEXRAD export to point shapefiles is also temporarily disabled.
3) GOES imagery cannot be saved to Vector (Shapefile, WKT) formats.

Version 2.2.1 Bugfix Release:
1) Level-II NEXRAD legend date formatting for 12:00 - 12:59 files displayed as 00:00 - 00:59
2) Native format transfer was giving an error
3) Data source history was not current source correctly
4) DPA and XMRG export bug fixed
5) NWS Gateway files in cache now correctly cleaned up
6) Added 'None' option to Satellite legend options
7) Added checkbox in 'View Properties' to control the automatic placement of the NOAA logo in saved animations and images

Version 2.2.2 Bugfix Release:
1) ASOS overlay labeling did not work

Version 2.2.5 Bugfix Release:
1) Changed NEXRAD HAS Orders ('NCDC' tab in Data Selector) to use server.

Version 2.1

Full Message 31 (Build-10) Level-II NEXRAD support

The recombined data (V04) structure is now supported.

Improved KMZ support

Altitude values may now be specified for exported KMZ files (Google Earth display). This is for visual effect only, and does not represent the actual altitude of the data. Surface 'shadows' are created for when an altitude above the Earth surface is used. Single KMZ files may be exported from the 'Export KMZ' button on the right 'SideBar'.

Move to NetCDF for Java version 4.0 API

The NetCDF for Java version 4.0 API is now used as the framework for data decoding. The Common Data Model layer is used to deal with data as 'Radial', 'Grid', 'Swath', etc... This allows users to develop plugin decoders to add custom data formats. Currently, these require recompilation of the source code to integrate. Eventually, these plugins will be able to be loaded dynamically.

Version 2.0

Transition to the NOAA Weather and Climate Toolkit

The Java NEXRAD Tools is being used as the basis for the new NOAA Weather and Climate Toolkit, with support for Radar, Satellite, Model and Station Network data. The emphasis for this toolkit will be simple visualization and data export, focusing on enhancing interoperability with other specialized tools in various scientific communities. In addition, the Weather and Climate Toolkit will allow direct access to data available via Web Services. Initial plans include access to the U.S. Drought Monitor, NEXRAD Reflectivity Mosaics, Station Data services and more. The toolkit is in early development and not all planned features are available.

NEXRAD Super-Resolution Support

NEXRAD Super-Resolution (Message 31) data is now supported. Super-Res. data has 4 times greater range resolution and 2 times greater azimuth resolution.

Smoothing and Transparency Controls Moved

The Smoothing and Transparency controls for NEXRAD data are now located in the 'Data Layers' tab of the 'Layer selector' window (formerly the 'Overlay Selector').

New Rasterizer / Improved Performance

Rasterization (converting range bin polygons to a grid) is now done with Java 2D Graphics API. This eliminates a previous (and rare) bug that showed large rectangular streaks of small data values at certain zoom extents. In addition, performance in decoding and processing (rasterizing) is improved.

Missing Features Available in Java NEXRAD Tools version 1.9:

These features are under development and will be included in later releases.

  • 'Point' and 'All Points' export is currently not available for Level-II NEXRAD files
  • Range-Folded data values are unable to be displayed for Level-II NEXRAD files
  • Improved handling of NWS Real-Time server
  • VTK export of Level-II 'CAPPI Cubes'