LDM data feeds, THREDDS server now available from UW-Madison AOS Department

University of Wisconsin Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Whether you like your weather data local, pushed to you by the Unidata Local Data Manager (LDM) through the Internet Data Distribution (IDD) project, or stored remotely and accessed on demand as needed, the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW-AOS) has you covered.

The UW-AOS Department has been helping to make weather data available to the Unidata community since the early days of the IDD project. Through the IDD, participating sites can have data pushed to them 24 hours a day. Data available include surface and upper-air observations, forecasts, discussions, watches and warnings, forecast model output, NEXRAD Level 2 and 3 radar data, satellite imagery and more.

In the past few years, the availability and size of the GOES16 and GOES17 data (in addition to the availability of gridded data sets at ever increasing resolution) began to push the limits of the UW-AOS IDD relay server, restricting how many downstream data feeds we were able to provide. An upgraded ingest and relay cluster, made possible by funding from the 2018 Unidata Equipment Awards grant program, has now enabled us to serve the GOES16 and GOES17 data along with everything else to additional downstream sites.

AOS TDS catalog
Top-level view of the AOS TDS catalog
(click to enlarge)

But what if you don't want all of that data, or your site don't have the internet bandwidth to handle it all? You may just want the 24h 500 hPa temperature forecast from the latest GFS run, or the 1800 UTC Full Disk GOES17 IR data from last Thursday. The publicly available UW-AOS THREDDS server, also funded by the equipment grant, is your answer!

Similar to the Unidata THREDDS server, the UW-AOS THREDDS server hosts analysis and forecast output from various models, NEXRAD Level 2 and 3 data, GOES 16 and 17 GRB (radiance) and NOAAPort (Cloud and Moisture Product) satellite data, along with several other data types. The model data is archived for about 2 weeks, while NEXRAD and GOES16/17 data are archived for 28 days, so you have some leeway to grab data for an interesting weather event or case study after the fact.

Some data for certain cases will be kept and hosted long-term. The type and amounts of data archived vary by case study, and by storage requirements and availability. As of this writing, archived data are available for Hurricane Michael (October, 2018) and the period of 27 January through 2 February 2019, which featured extreme cold temperatures and an overforecast of snow, which resulted in many school closings in Southern Wisconsin. Suggestions of future interesting cases for archive consideration can be emailed to data-request@aos.wisc.edu.

UW-AOS classes have already begun to make use of the data provided by the updated hardware. The students in AOS 453 (Synoptic Lab II: Mesoscale Meteorology) TA’d by UW-AOS graduate student Kelton Halbert, used python to access data on the THREDDS server for many of their labs.

You can get started accessing all of this data by pointing a web browser at https://thredds.aos.wisc.edu – there is a viewer built into the THREDDS server to do quick looks at the data. Other data access methods such as OpenDAP, NetcdfSubset, or regular file downloads (HTTPServer) are also available.

If you would like to get data via the ldm/IDD, or add UW-AOS as a backup data source, send a data request to data-request@aos.wisc.edu or to ldm-users@unidata.ucar.edu.

Unidata Community Equipment Award grants make funds available to colleges and universities to purchase equipment or cloud-based computing services that will enhance their participation in the Unidata program. For additional information on program, visit the Equipment Awards page.


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