Responsibilities of the NCDC

Mission of the NCDC

According to the NOAA Organizational Handbook (1989), the mission of the NCDC (and WDC-A for Meteorology) is stated as follows: “The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for data management activities in support of scientific and technical programs involving remotely sensed and in situ retrospective meteorological data and climatological information. NCDC performs all functions related to data management (acquisition, archiving, inventorying, and quality assessments), data synthesis (climate description, monitoring, modeling, and prediction), and data and information dissemination and publication. It performs necessary liaison with other NOAA components and with national and international contributors and users of data and information. NCDC coordinates with other National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) centers and with centers outside of NOAA in areas of related scientific and technical concern to achieve a useful degree of homogeneity in services in the environmental sciences, and to avoid duplication of effort. It operates World Data Center-A (WDC-A) for Meteorology under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, with the responsibility to collect complete sets of global data. NCDC applies new technology and new approaches to the maintenance of national and global databases and to the analyses of long-term climate trends for the study and monitoring of climate on national and global scales. It performs quality assurance and re-analysis of historical data and data fields to establish baseline databases for global/national climate monitoring. NCDC manages the national program of climatological data recall and works closely with other data collection agencies in meeting this requirement. It provides facilities, data processing support, and expertise, as required, to meet U.S. commitments to international organizations and to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) programs. NCDC assists in training programs to familiarize the representatives of developing countries with modern meteorological technologies. It coordinates (through WDC-A) international exchange of climatic data. ”



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1993 Review of the World Data Center-A for Meteorology and the National Climatic Data Center Responsibilities of the NCDC Mission of the NCDC According to the NOAA Organizational Handbook (1989), the mission of the NCDC (and WDC-A for Meteorology) is stated as follows: “The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for data management activities in support of scientific and technical programs involving remotely sensed and in situ retrospective meteorological data and climatological information. NCDC performs all functions related to data management (acquisition, archiving, inventorying, and quality assessments), data synthesis (climate description, monitoring, modeling, and prediction), and data and information dissemination and publication. It performs necessary liaison with other NOAA components and with national and international contributors and users of data and information. NCDC coordinates with other National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) centers and with centers outside of NOAA in areas of related scientific and technical concern to achieve a useful degree of homogeneity in services in the environmental sciences, and to avoid duplication of effort. It operates World Data Center-A (WDC-A) for Meteorology under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, with the responsibility to collect complete sets of global data. NCDC applies new technology and new approaches to the maintenance of national and global databases and to the analyses of long-term climate trends for the study and monitoring of climate on national and global scales. It performs quality assurance and re-analysis of historical data and data fields to establish baseline databases for global/national climate monitoring. NCDC manages the national program of climatological data recall and works closely with other data collection agencies in meeting this requirement. It provides facilities, data processing support, and expertise, as required, to meet U.S. commitments to international organizations and to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) programs. NCDC assists in training programs to familiarize the representatives of developing countries with modern meteorological technologies. It coordinates (through WDC-A) international exchange of climatic data. ”

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1993 Review of the World Data Center-A for Meteorology and the National Climatic Data Center Primary Responsibilities The NCDC has the legislatively mandated responsibilities to ensure the long-term survival of the nation's climatic data and to disseminate that data to the general public. Archiving is the main function of the NCDC, and the NCDC is to be commended for their commitment to produce, archive, and disseminate high-quality datasets. As a repository of climate data, the NCDC archives both in situ and remotely sensed data. These data are received in many forms, requiring that the center maintain a variety of technologies to be able to receive and read the data. For example, the data may be in the form of manuscripts and microfilm, floppy and optical disks, magnetic and punched paper tapes, and other electronic forms. Remotely sensed data (e.g., Next Generation Weather Radar [NEXRAD]) will before long make up most of the volume of the holdings. The NCDC is unique among data centers to the extent that it serves the general public and not just a narrowly defined group(s) of users. Because of the varying levels of sophistication among its customers, the NCDC receives requests and disseminates data on many media. Data center customers include lawyers, engineers, teachers, recreationists, and the business community, and their requests account for nearly three-quarters of the in situ data sales. Researchers account for between 5% and 12% of NCDC's data requests, depending on the platform type. The government is the largest customer for space platform observations. Data sales to all of their users generate $3 million/year for the center. Communication with Other Climate Centers A hierarchy of national, regional, and state climate centers now exists. About two-thirds of the states have active climate centers, and all but two states (Pennsylvania and New Mexico) have a designated state climatologist. The NCDC receives about 100,000 requests for climate information per year. The state and regional climate centers receive approximately another 50,000 100,000 requests. Other requests, especially from the scientific community, are processed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).