How to Use the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Website to Find Historical Weather Data
Posted by Go iHelp Administrator, Last modified by Go iHelp Administrator on 06 August 2012 11:14 AM

Method 1:

1) Go to http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/search

2) Click on the "Go to map Application" button

3) In the upper right hand of the map select "U.S. Historical Daily Snowfall" from the" Climate Themes" drop down list

4) Zoom map into your area

a. Zoom tools located in upper left hand of the map

5) Click on the "Monthly" tab in the "Controls" menu

6) Select "Snowfall Total" from the "Type" drop down list

a. Select the month/period you want from the "Period" drop down list

7) Select the year you want from the "Year" drop down list

8) Check  the box next to: "Do not display stations with zero amounts"

9) Click the "Update Map" button

10) Click on the "Identify" tool in the upper left side of the screen. 

11) Find a point/weather station on the map that is closest to the area you service- this will look like a red dot on the map (see screen shot below).

Suggestion: If applicable, use a major airport or news station closest to the center of a major metropolitan area. This will increase your chances of exporting the largest, most up-to-date data available. 

12) Click on the red dot and "Identify Results" popup appears

13) Click the "Station" link (the numbers next to station) in the popup to open up a new window/browser tab that will allow you export the weather data from this station

14) In the new window/browser tab, enter your email address in the "Email Address" and "Verify Email Address" text boxes to the right of the screen.

15) Select a start date and an end date for the weather data you would like to retrieve. These would likely be the dates you typically service properties for snow removal. For example a start date in Cincinnati, OH would be September 1 and end date would be February 29.

a. If the station you chose from the map does not provide weather event data for the date range you’ve requested, you can either go back to the map and choose a new station, or adjust the dates you’ve entered until you can get data.

16) Click the "Custom GHCN-Daily CSV" radio button

a. CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. and is a file type that you can typically open using Microsoft Excel.

17) Click the "Continue" button when finished.

18) The next steps require you to select the information you would like to have in your report. For example, choose that you would like snowfall information vs. general precipitation. Information available for export may vary by station. See screen shot below.

19) After selecting the type of weather data you want for your report click the "Continue" button

20) You will receive two emails from NCDC CDO

a. The first email is confirmation that your request has been submitted.

b. The second email is sent when your request has been processed. It provides a link to your file with the information you asked for.

21) In the second email, click on the link provided for the csv file

22) Save the csv file to your computer

23) Repeat steps 15-22 using different years/dates in order to compile a sufficient data set for your historical weather data.

24) Depending on the type of data the weather station you chose provides, you can use our spreadshet that we have formatted with formulas as a guide to maniuplate the weather event history data so that you can obtain average snow levels.  Please be aware of the units your results are exported in, as our snow proposal builder requires inches. Many of the reports will list the snowfall increments in milimeters.

 How to find snow fall events in your area.

(Method 2) recommended for experienced data miners

1) Go to http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/search

2) Click on the "Data Search" tab

3) Type in the location you wish to obtain snow fall data from into the step 1 text box

4) Select "Daily GHCND" from the step 2 drop down list

5) Click the "Search" button

6) Select the stations/locations you wish to query snow data from

a. Note: this will not tell you if the station/location you selected will contain the data you need.

7) Enter your email address in the "Email Address" and "Verify Email Address" text boxes

8) Select a start date for the beginning of your snow removal business cycle

9) Select an end date for the end of your snow removal business cycle

a. If your station is not compatible with the dates supplied, you can remove it by clicking the red "x" next to your source.  You can also go back to the previous step and select new stations/locations.

10) Click the "Custom GHCN-Daily CSV" radio button

a. CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. and is a file type that you can typically open using Microsoft Excel.

11) Click the "Continue" button

12.  This step requires you to select the fields you wish to be included in your report.  Because data of this nature has not been standardized, you will have explore the data types available until you find something that most clearly represents snowfall

13.  After selecting the data type you want for your report click the "Continue" button

a.      There are other data types and addtional output options you can select if you wish, but these are not necessary for what you are doing.

14.  Click the "Continue" button

15.  You will receive two emails from NCDC CDO

a.      The first is that your request has been submitted

b.      The second is that your request has been processed

16.  In the second email go the the link provided to the csv file

17.  Save the csv file to your computer

18.  Repeat steps 6 - 17  and change the dates/years in order to build up a sufficient history data set

19.  Depending on the type of data the station provides for you, you can use the supplied spreadsheet as a guide to make sense of and manipulate the data and obtain average snowfall levels.  Please be aware of the units your results are exported in, as our snow proposal builder requires inches.

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