Climate Data Online, NCEI


Climate Data Online (CDO) of the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)—previously the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)—provides free access to one of the most significant archives of global data on weather and climate. These data include high-quality daily, monthly, seasonally, and annual observations on variables such as temperature, precipitation, degree days as well as 30-year Climate Normals. These data are collected from over 100,000 stations in more than 180 countries and territories and some reports are updated on a daily basis. The oldest records included in CDO date back to the 1700s.*

*This description is a paraphrased version of the descriptions on NCEI website.

Available data file formats



This online data source is open for public use free of charge. Certified hard copies can be ordered for legal use with a fee.

Climate Data Online



Suppose you would like to see daily precipitation levels from all stations in Norway from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. You want to download the data in CSV form (which can be read in Excel).


  • Locate the data source. Go to Climate Data Online. In the lower-left part of the screen, there is a section, DISCOVER DATA BY SEARCH TOOL. This is the recommended option for using this data tool.

Screenshot of the Climate Data Online main page. In the lower-left of the screen, there is a section, DISCOVER DATA BY SEARCH TOOL. On its right, there are two other sections, DISCOVER DATA BY MAPPING TOOL and DISCOVER DATA BY DATA TOOL.

  • Search for the right dataset. Click on Search Tool to go to the Climate Data Online Search page. The following four choices would direct you to the right dataset. Select Weather Observation Type/Dataset Daily Summaries, Select Date Range 2019-01-01 to 2019-12-31, Search For Countries, and Enter the Search Term Norway. Click on the SEARCH button to access the next page.

Screenshot of the Climate Data Online Search page. On the left, there are four filters, from top to bottom, are Select Weather Observation Type/Dataset, Select Date Range, Search For, and Enter a Search Term. On the right, there are brief instructions for each filter.

  • Order your data. Now a map with Norway shaded in the center of the screen appears. You can find Norway under the SEARCH bar in the top-left corner. Click on ADD TO CART next to order your data. In the upper-right corner of the screen, there is now 1 item in your Cart (Free Data). Click on the cart to customize your order in the next step.

Screenshot of the filtering result page. In the top-left corner, the result of Norway with an ADD TO CART button shows up. A map with Norway shaded appears in the center of the screen. In the upper-right corner of the map, there is the Cart (Free Data).

  • Customize and review your order. Next, Select the Output Format Custom GHCN-Daily CSV and Select the Date Range 2000 Jan 1 to 2019 Dec 31. Click on CONTINUE and then select Station Name and Precipitation (PRCP) respectively.

Screenshot of the Cart: Daily Summary page. On the left side, there is one Select Cart Option section, and there are two options available to choose, Select the Output Format and Select the Date Range. Below this, there is the section: Review the items in your cart.

Screenshot of the Custom Options: Daily Summary page. On the left side, there is one Station Detail & Data Flag Options section with three options and there is another section below it, Select data types for custom output with 2 associated options, each has various drop-down choices.

  • Finalize your order and download the data. CONTINUE to SUBMIT ORDER by providing your email address. Once you submit your order, you will receive two emails notifying you that your order has been submitted and completed. Remember to download your data before it expires.

Screenshot of the Review Order page. On the left side, there is a table containing the information for your data and two boxes asking you to enter your email address below it.

Be sure to consult with the source website on how to properly cite your data. For this scenario, the citation in APA format would look something like:

National Centers for Environmental Information. Climate Data Online. (Accessed on January 16, 2020)