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World Data Center for Meteorology, Asheville

U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) climate observing station on Mauna Loa in Hawaii  (Mauna Kea in the background).

U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) climate observing station on Mauna Loa in Hawaii (Mauna Kea in the background).

In 2010, ICSU adopted, and has since implemented, a new World Data System (WDS) which was created as a replacement for the WDC system. The WDS builds upon the 50-year legacy of the ICSU WDC and Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical data-analysis Services. Over 100 WDCs and Federation Services, as well as numerous other data centers, services and activities, have already expressed interest in becoming part of the new system. The WDS concept aims at a transition from existing stand-alone WDCs and individual Services to a common globally interoperable distributed data system that incorporates emerging technologies and new scientific data activities. The new WDS is built on the potential offered by advanced interconnections between data management components for disciplinary and multidisciplinary applications. ICSU has established a WDS International Programme Office (IPO) hosted by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology of Japan (NICT). The WDS IPO will manage and coordinate the establishment and operations of the WDS, and take responsibility for outreach and promotional activities. The IPO will act under the guidance of the ICSU World Data System Scientific Committee.

The WDC for Meteorology, Asheville is maintained by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is collocated and operated by NCEI in Asheville, NC, USA, and is proud to have been accepted as a full member of the new WDS as of September 2011. In accordance with the principles set forth by ICSU, WDC for Meteorology, Asheville acquires, catalogues, and archives data and makes them available to requesters in the international scientific community. Data are exchanged with counterparts, WDC for Meteorology, Obninsk and WDC for Meteorology, Beijing as necessary to improve access to climate and weather data. All data and special data sets contributed to the WDC are available to scientific investigators without restriction. The WDC for Meteorology, Asheville, also works closely with the U.S. Global Climate Observing System Program (GCOS), and strives to work closely with entities involved in all aspects of climate observing and related data management efforts, including the operation of the Global Observing Systems Information Center Global Observing Systems Information Center (GOSIC).

There is a wide array of data available on the WDC for Meteorology, Asheville site, and highlighted among these are (for complete listing see the Data Access, Search & Viewer Tools):

  • Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) provides monthly, pentad, and daily precipitation analyses from surface and satellite measurements for 1979 onwards (1997 onwards for daily). In this case the WDC serves as a secondary conduit of this data in conjunction with NASA/GSFC.
  • Archive of Global Synoptic Observation Data from 1901-Present provides archive of synoptic (hourly, 3-hourly, and 6-hourly climate data) from across the globe is available under the auspices of WMO Resolution 40 which have conditions placed on their international commercial use. They can be used within the U.S., or for non-commercial international activities without restriction. The non-U.S. data cannot be redistributed for commercial purposes. Re-distribution of these data by others must provide this same notification.
  • International Best Tracks Archive for Data Stewardship (IBTrACS) is a WDC-sponsored effort works with Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers around to world to provide tropical cyclone best track data in a centralized location to aid our understanding of the distribution, frequency, and intensity of tropical cyclones worldwide.
  • Global Historical Climatology Network - Monthly (GHCN-M) temperature dataset was first developed in the early 1990s. A second version was released in 1997 following extensive efforts to increase the number of stations and length of the data record. Methods for removing inhomogeneities from the data record associated with non-climatic influences such as changes in instrumentation, station environment, and observing practices that occur over time were also included in the version 2 release. Since that time efforts have focused on continued improvements in dataset development methods including new quality control processes and advanced techniques for removing data inhomogeneities. Effective May 2, 2011, the GHCN-M version 3 dataset of monthly mean temperature has replaced GHCN-M version 2 as the dataset for operational climate monitoring activities.
  • The Integrated Global Radiosonde Archive (IGRA) consists of radiosonde and pilot balloon observations at over 1500 globally distributed stations. Observations are available for standard, surface, tropopause and significant levels. Variables include: Pressure; Temperature; Geopotential Height; Dew point Depression; Wind Direction and Speed.