NCDC Weather and Climate Toolkit

This image shows the full extent of Hurricane Katrina as the storm was making landfall in Louisana. Image is a NEXRAD Level-III Base Reflectivity.  This image shows the May 3rd, 1999 Moore Oklahoma tornado on radar. Plotted is the Tornado Vortex Signature and the image is the base reflectivity and smoothed.

Many people are looking for weather data (especially higher resolution radar data) that supports response and recovery activities as well as research into previous significant weather-related natural disasters.  The National Climate Data Center (NCDC) Weather and Climate Toolkit (WCT) allows users to interact with an incredible amount of data (historical or current) and display that within the Java based application.  The website provides solid how-to guides for accessing current data, ordering historical datasets and using the various functions of the tool. 

While some people will like the Java interface, many GIS professionals still require being able to access the raw data from within traditional desktop GIS platforms.  The Weather and Climate Toolkit lets users to export datasets as well to commonly used files such as shapefiles, ascii grids, netcdf and geotiff (

This image shows the U.S. Drought Monitor being displayed as a data service as part of the Weather and Climate Toolkit. US Drought Monitor WMS Feed

Coded NWS NEXRAD data is also available from the National Weather Service at: (Level III) or from Iowa State University (Level II).

Historical NEXRAD, Satellite or NDFD products can be ordered from NCDC at

This image shows Hurricane Frances off the coast of Florida. Image is GOES-12 IR.

In the past several months, the NCDC team has added functionality to support the new Dual-Polarization NWS Radar products, as well as KML/KMZ support and the capability to animate multiple files and export to a standalone file.

In future posts and case study analyses, the WCT will be repeatedly used because it will allow for the display of critical data from NWS during the events that pertains to the event.  It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s worth the time to familiarize yourself with this resource as it has proven invaluable time and time again.

(Screenshots courtesy WCT Image Gallery)


7 comments on “NCDC Weather and Climate Toolkit

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