Climate Databases

The NRCC database includes a complete collection of historical climate data for the northeastern United States as well as continually updated National Weather Service weather observations and forecasts. In addition, daily and hourly data are available from a number of special state and local networks that measure additional climatic variables that are useful in studies of agricultural production, hydrology, and environmental impacts. NRCC also has developed models that estimate variables such as solar radiation and evapotranspiration that are not widely observed.

Data Sources

Northeast US Climate Station Map

The NRCC database includes data from a variety of sources. The majority of the data are collected at National Weather Service Offices and cooperative observer network sites. The National Weather Service Offices, known as first-order weather stations, report a comprehensive array of weather variables each hour, on the hour, around the clock. First-order stations observe and report meteorological elements such as atmospheric pressure, temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, precipitation type and amount, cloud cover, and visibility.

Cooperative network sites are much more numerous (nearly 900 active locations in the Northeast region at present), but make only one observation at the same time each day. Observations at cooperative network sites are generally limited to daily maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation, snowfall and depth of snow on the ground.

Data are also available from a variety of networks within the region. Variables measured at these networks include soil temperature, leaf wetness, and solar radiation, among other variables. Trained NRCC staff members are always ready to assist anyone in selecting the most appropriate climate data for their needs and in the proper use and interpretation of such data.

The map shows the locations of first-order (stars) and cooperative (dots) stations in the Northeast.

Daily Databases

Summary of the Day (Cooperative stations)
Daily observations of temperature, precipitation, snowfall, and snow depth for all stations in the United States. Length of record varies, with some stations beginning in the late 1800s. Updated daily, monthly and annually.

Summary of the Day (First-order stations)
Similar to above except it contains data from first-order stations only and includes many more elements, such as pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation type, sunshine, etc. Updated monthly and annually.

Hourly Databases

Hourly Surface Observations
Hourly observations of cloud cover, visibility, temperature, pressure, humidity, wind, and other meteorological elements from first-order weather stations and additional airport locations around the country. Period of record begins as early as 1948 for first-order stations and July 1996 for other stations. Updated hourly.

Hourly Precipitation Data
Hourly precipitation amounts from a subset of cooperative network sites. Period of record begins as early as 1948. Updated annually.

Special Data Sets

15 Minute Precipitation Data
Fifteen minute precipitation amounts from a subset of cooperative network sites. Period of record begins as early as 1971.

Station History File
Documentation of weather observations at all weather stations, past and present, in the United States. Includes station location, elevation, period of record and variables observed. Updated periodically.

Climate Data Summaries

Divisional Temperature, Precipitation and Drought Index
Monthly averages of temperature, precipitation and Palmer drought index by climate division for all states in the Northeast. Averages date back to 1895. Updated monthly.

State and Local Networks

Cornell Research Farms
Daily observations of temperature, precipitation, snowfall, snow depth, 3-inch air temperature, 4-inch and 8-inch soil temperatures, wind movement, and evaporation. Six New York State sites with variable periods of record. Updated monthly.

Cornell Automated Weather Network
Hourly observations of temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, 4 and 8 inch soil temperatures, wind, and solar radiation. Six sites in New York State with variable periods of record beginning as early as 1983. Updated hourly or daily.

New York Cooperative Snow Survey
Monthly or twice monthly values of snow depth and water equivalent of snow depth from stations in every major drainage basin in New York State. Variable periods of record. Updated each winter as surveys are performed.

Derived Products

Solar Radiation Estimates
Hourly and daily estimates of solar radiation for any location and time period with hourly surface observations. Estimates are made using the NRCC solar radiation model described in NRCC Publication RR 93-4.

Evaporation Estimates
Daily estimates of pan evaporation, potential evapotranspiration, and actual evapotranspiration from grass, deciduous trees or bare soil for any location and time period with hourly surface observations. Estimates are made using the NRCC evaporation/soil moisture model described in NRCC Publication RR 94-1.

Soil Moisture Estimates
Daily estimates of soil moisture status for bare soil, or a surface covered by grass or deciduous trees for any location and time period with hourly surface observations. Estimates are made using the NRCC evaporation/soil moisture model described in NRCC Publication RR 94-1.

Precipitation Extremes Summary
Summary of probability of extreme precipitation events ranging in duration from 5 minutes to 10 days and return periods of 2 to 100 years. Available for any weather station with a long record of daily precipitation data. Methodology is described in NRCC Publication RR 93-5.