There are a variety of software tools designed to visualize and decode radar data, which can only be downloaded in a unique binary format. Use this list to find the right tool for your project.
NCEI Radar Software
NCEI's Weather and Climate Toolkit is Java™-based software that visualizes WSR-88D Level-II and Level-III Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) and Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) data, including data from the NCEI archive.
The Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) from Unidata is a Java™-based software framework for analyzing and visualizing geoscience data. The IDV is a unified interface with integrated display and workspace functions that are compatible with satellite imagery, gridded data, surface observations, balloon soundings, NWS WSR-88D Level-II and Level-III Radar data, and NOAA National Profiler Network data.
National Severe Storms Laboratory/Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (NSSL/CIMMS) Software
The Warning Decision Support System–Integrated Information (WDSS-II) is the second generation of a suite of algorithms and displays for severe weather analysis, warnings, and forecasting. Extensive C++ API, 3D analysis, data mining, real-time algorithms, and storm-tracking capabilities are available for the Linux platform only.
Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) Software
The Man computer Interactive Data Access System-V (McIDAS-V) is a free, open source, visualization and data analysis software package that is the fifth generation in SSEC's 40-year history of sophisticated McIDAS software packages. McIDAS-V displays weather satellite (including hyperspectral) and other geophysical data (including NEXRAD) in two and three dimensions, and it can be used to analyze and manipulate the data with its powerful mathematical functions.
Conversion and Analysis
NCEI Radar Software
National Weather Service (NWS) Common Operations and Development Environment (CODE) Software
CODE is a "clone" of a WSR-88D Radar Product Generator on a workstation, which can run existing and user-created algorithms by ingesting WSR-88D Archive level-II data.This software can also ingest Level-II data from NCEI to study past weather events and create products for analysis.
NASA Radar Software Library
In support of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission's (TRIMM) Global Validation Program, the NASA's TRIMM Satellite Validation Office has developed a Radar Software Library (RSL) for working with the various input radar formats. This is an object-oriented library written in C that includes several command-line utilities and conversion between several Radar formats.
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Radx Library
The Radx C++ library was developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research to provide support for the new CfRadial radar data format, and to provide translation between common radar data formats. The library includes several command-line utilities and conversion between several Radar formats, including NEXRAD.
Department of Energy (DOE) Software
The DOE Python Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Toolkit (Py-ART) is a Python module containing a collection of weather radar algorithms and utilities. Py-ART can read a number of common weather radar formats, including Sigmet/IRIS, MDV, CF/Radial, UF, and NEXRAD Level II archive files. Radar data can be written to NetCDF files, which conform to the CF/Radial convention.
Radar Data APIs and Examples
Many of the applications listed above are also Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that provide support for decoding and integrating Radar data in multiple programming languages. Check out this list of decoding utilities and examples for more information.
Real-Time Radar Data
Real-time Level-III images and data are available from the National Weather Service.
Level-II data is also available in real time. Please read the NOAA Press Release for more information.