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Popular Climate Product Relaunches

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Courtesy of Pixabay.com

NCEI has relaunched one of its most popular datasets, providing updated and improved local climate summaries from several thousand locations. Local Climatological Data help users generate reports (known as LCDs) that summarize climate conditions for more than 2,500 weather stations and airports. LCDs are used widely across sectors from construction and transportation to courts and law offices.

NCEI released the new dynamically generated LCD product through the Climate Data Online Data Tools web page. The newer version of the LCD merges the unedited, edited, and quality-controlled local data available through a revamped interface. Additionally, the new LCD contains many more stations, including military and civilian networks, such as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN). Stations include those in the United States, U.S. territories, and global military sites. Prior to the update, reporting stations numbered fewer than 1,000. With the update, stations total 2,513.

NCEI implemented the upgrade for several reasons, primarily to provide faster access and improve the content of the data. Many users of LCDs require certification that indicates the record’s authentication for particular uses, such as in a court of law. As with the previous LCD, the relaunch maintains certification capability.

LCDs Paint a Broad Picture of Local Climate

The product includes hourly observations, associated remarks, and a record of hourly precipitation. The LCD also provides daily summaries of temperature extremes, degree days, precipitation amounts, and winds. Tabulations include:

  • Maximum, minimum, and average temperature
  • Temperature departure from normal
  • Dewpoint temperature
  • Average station pressure
  • Ceiling and visibility
  • Weather type
  • Wet bulb temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Heating and cooling degree days
  • Daily precipitation
  • Average wind speed and fastest wind speed/direction
  • Sky cover and occurrences of sunshine
  • Snowfall and snow depth

All data in the LCD are drawn from several datasets archived by NCEI: Global Hourly Data, Global Historical Climate Network–Daily, Global Summary of the Month, and U.S. Normals for 1981–2010.

The updated online tool allows users to search by country, U.S. state, territory, county, and zip code. A “View Data” feature gives users a quick look at observations for a given day. Orders can be placed for customized time periods from multiple stations. The new tool also provides access to NCEI station history information and equipment details.  

Differences in LCD Versions

The previously edited historical LCDs, as well as future annual editions, will continue to be available through the Image and Publications System. Monthly editions will no longer be published and will end after the December 2017 data month.

The quality-controlled LCDs (QCLCDs) and and unedited LCDs (ULCDs) are no longer available separately. Additionally, the structure and access to the bulk LCD data downloads has changed formats. Users of the bulk download QCLCD ASCII will be transitioned to a new CSV format over the coming months. The new format is much simpler and reflects the archived format.

NCEI welcomes questions or issues about our products and systems. Send queries to our Customer Service branch at ncei.orders@noaa.gov or call (828) 271-4800. Also, reach us through the feedback form online.

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