Hourly Weather Data Website Update

Frequently, when operating buildings or doing energy calculations for their systems, it is very handy to be able to obtain hourly weather data for a given location.   That is why I think the post I did a while back on the topic is one of my more popular posts, perhaps even more so since NOAA subsequently stopped charging for the data.

This weekend, I discovered a couple of things I didn’t know about the website I refer you to.   One is that they moved it and its not so easy to find where it went.  The good news is that I finally found it and updated the link in the previous post.   But to save you the trouble of going back to it, I wanted to put it into this post and also mention a few other pertinent things I learned.

The point of entry for the new data location is now via this web page.

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If you are like me, your initial reaction is to pick the search tools or data tools and start looking there.  But, while those links have a lot of useful data available, none of them had the global hourly weather data link I was looking for.  It turns out, you have to page down a bit to find it.

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If you click on the Legacy Climate Data Online, you are taken to this page.

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If you pick the Data Set/Product option, and then pick Surface Data, Hourly Global (Over 10,000 worldwide sites)*  in the selection window that appears …

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You will be taken to the page that I use as the starting point in my earlier post on the topic.

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After that, the process is the same as what I outlined in my first post with two exceptions.  One is that you no longer have to pay for the data, which I mentioned when I discovered it after my original post.  Click here for a direct link to this page.

The other is that the process currently won’t work in Internet Explorer.  You can go all of the way through the selection and ordering procedure, but when you Submit Request, you get an error page;  Machines 1, David – 0.

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At first, I thought I had done something wrong, but after carefully repeating the process several times with the same result, I started to suspect there was some sort of issue with the way the browser was interacting with the web site.

So, on a hunch, I tried using Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, and it worked;  Machines – 1, David – 1.

I subsequently e-mailed the NOAA help desk, just to be sure and very quickly, received a response confirming my hunch and suggesting I use another browser.

Since there is a note on the new home page under the Legacy Climate Data Online topic that says…

The first version of Climate Data Online which provides access to several datasets which have not yet been migrated to the current version

… I suspect we will go through this process one more time before all is said and done.  I’ll keep you posted if I run into the problem again and what I do about it.

On a related note, I also discovered, sadly, that Bill Koran’s weather data query spreadsheet no longer works (I mentioned it in a number of posts, including Using Scatter Plots to Assess Building Performance–Part 3).   Bill is a friend of mine, so I e-mailed him to see what was up.  The issue there is similar to the issue I discuss above; i.e. the location of the data that the query targeted had shifted.  Unfortunately, he thinks the problem is unfixable, so a really great tool has been laid to waste I am afraid.

Bill did mention that ECAM (another really great tool that Bill has been the driving force behind) has a download tool built into it  But currently, that also has been affected by the shuffling of web pages and he is still working go fix that.  Meanwhile, he suggested using the following links to do manual downloads.

This first link …

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/datatools/lcd

… will take you a web page on the new site that I mention in the opening of the post.

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If you pick the purple Datasets button in the black banner (the one below the blue banner), it will take you to this page.

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If you page down on that page, and expand the Global Hourly Data topic, you will discover that the Search Tool link will take you to the same place I describe above.

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This second link …

http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/request/download.phtml?network=OR_ASOS

… takes you to a location that will allow you to access data from airport automated weather observation systems (ASOS) around the world.  Its pretty slick;  all you have to do is pick your station and fill out the form using the drop-down menus provided.

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When you get to the bottom of the form, you hit the Get Data button and  your file is made available for download (or viewing in a web browser if you pick that option).

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Machines – 1, David – 2.

I’ve modified the links under 02 – Weather and Climate Resources to reflect the information above.

So that should give you a number of options for obtaining hourly weather data for your building commissioning work and energy calculations.   Thanks to Bill for the links he shared;  The second one really is nicely done and probably the fastest and cleanest approach if the location you are looking for is included in their site list.

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David Sellers
Senior Engineer – Facility Dynamics Engineering
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This entry was posted in Weather and Climate Interactions with Buildings and Systems, Weather and Climate Resources. Bookmark the permalink.

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