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rnoaa is an R interface to NOAA climate data.

Data Sources

Many functions in this package interact with the National Climatic Data Center application programming interface (API) at, all of which functions start with ncdc_. An access token, or API key, is required to use all the ncdc_ functions. The key is required by NOAA, not us. Go to the link given above to get an API key.

More NOAA data sources are being added through time. Data sources and their function prefixes are:

  • buoy_* - NOAA Buoy data from the National Buoy Data Center

  • ghcnd_*/meteo_* - GHCND daily data from NOAA

  • isd_* - ISD/ISH data from NOAA

  • homr_* - Historical Observing Metadata Repository (HOMR) vignette

  • ncdc_* - NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) vignette (examples)

  • sea_ice - Sea ice vignette

  • storm_ - Storms (IBTrACS) vignette

  • swdi - Severe Weather Data Inventory (SWDI) vignette

  • tornadoes - From the NOAA Storm Prediction Center

  • coops_search - NOAA CO-OPS - tides and currents data

  • cpc_prcp - rainfall data from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC)

  • arc2 - rainfall data from Africa Rainfall Climatology version 2

  • bsw - Blended sea winds (BSW)

  • ersst - NOAA Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) data

  • lcd - Local Climitalogical Data from NOAA

Where data comes from and government shutdowns

Government shutdowns can greatly affect data sources in this package. The following is a breakdown of the functions that fetch data by HTTP vs. FTP - done this way as we've noticed that during the ealry 2019 border wall shutdown most FTP services were up, while those that were down were HTTP; though not all HTTP services were down.

  • HTTP info:

  • FTP info:

HTTP services (whether service is/was up or down during early 2019 shutdown)

  • buoy_* - Up

  • homr_* - Up

  • ncdc_* - Down

  • swdi - Down

  • tornadoes - Down

  • coops_search - Up

  • ersst - Down

  • lcd - Down

  • se_* - Down

FTP services (whether service is/was up or down during early 2019 shutdown)

  • ghcnd_* - Up

  • isd_* - Up

  • sea_ice - Up

  • storm_ - Up

  • cpc_prcp - Up

  • arc2 - Up

  • bsw - Up

We've tried to whenever possible detect whether a service is error due to a government shutdown and give a message saying so. If you know a service is down that rnoaa interacts with but we don't fail well during a shutdown let us know.

A note about NCDF data

Some functions use netcdf files, including:

  • ersst

  • buoy

  • bsw

You'll need the ncdf4 package for those functions, and those only. ncdf4 is in Suggests in this package, meaning you only need ncdf4 if you are using any of the functions listed above. You'll get an informative error telling you to install ncdf4 if you don't have it and you try to use the those functions. Installation of ncdf4 should be straightforward on any system.

The meteo family of functions

The meteo family of functions are prefixed with meteo_ and provide a set of helper functions to:

  • Identify candidate stations from a latitude/longitude pair

  • Retrieve complete data for one or more stations (meteo_coverage())