Part 2—Download Weather Data

Step 1 –
Navigate to the Weather Data

NOTE: NOAA has consolidated their climate data onto one site that is different from the site for which instructions are given below. You can now get this data from the National Centers for Environmental at Information at Climate Data Online. The link is Instructions for obtaining the data from this site is here (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 100kB Sep9 15)
  1. Access the National Climatic Data Center website.

  2. In the menu area along the left side of the screen, under the heading Purchase, click Most Popular.
  3. On the new page that opens, notice in the first paragraph that this data is available for free if you connect to the NOAA website from a server that is in an edu, k12, gov, or mil domain. Scroll down to the section labeled Most Requested I. This data collection is labeled Surface Summary of the Day. At the left side of the section, click on the link that reads 1. 3200-3210/CDO. On the new page that opens, click the button with the text, Continue with SIMPLIFIED Options.

Step 2 –
Choose the State, Weather Station, and Time Frame, and order the Data

Select Massachusetts from the State/Territory drop-down menu, and then click Continue. Select Boston Logan Intl Ap as the weather station, and click Continue. Select the date range for the year of 2000 and click Continue. This will open a new window where you can review your order, review the Inventory File, and click the Inventory Review box. Finally, enter your email address and click Submit Request.

Note: If you do not have the option to order data from NOAA free of charge, you can still download the data for this chapter for free, courtesy of NCDC. Use the links to the data at the bottom of this page.

Step 3 –
Downloading Free Weather Data (See Step 4 for Purchasing Weather Data)

Once you have submitted your request for weather data, a new web page will open to confirm your order. It will also have a link to your data. The data may not be available immediately, but it should be available within a matter of minutes. You will receive email notification when the data is available.

  1. When you click on the link to download the weather data, a new screen will open with links to four data sets. (You will receive these same four links in the notification email.) The top two links (Web Form and ASCII File) link to the data you need.

  2. Use control-click (Mac) or right-click (PC) to download the Web Form and ASCII File data to your computer. Save the Web Form as Weather_2000.html. Save the ASCII File as Weather_2000.txt. Save the files to a location where you can easily find them, such as your Desktop or Documents folder.
The Web Form and the ASCII File contain the same data, but in two different forms. The ASCII File holds the weather data in a format that can be imported into Excel and graphed. The only weather data used in the graph is precipitation data. The Web Form displays the data in a PDF format. You should print this and have copies available during the investigation, since it lets users see all of the weather for every day, and not just the precipitation. Some of that datafor example, snow cover or air temperatureprovides an important context that can support the analysis of the data.

Step 4 –
Purchasing Weather Data from NOAA

If you do not have access to a server in an edu, k-12, gov, or mil domain, you can purchase NOAA weather data. The data you'll need for this investigation will cost approximately $10. If you need to purchase the data, you'll see a button with the text Add to Shopping Cart. If you do not wish to purchase the data for this chapter, two files are available for your use. See the end of this page for information on accessing the data.

  1. If you need to purchase the data, you'll see a button with the text Add to Shopping Cart.

  2. When you click the button to add the the data to your shopping cart, the message below, informing you about the need to accept cookies on your computer, will open. Accept the cookie.

  3. Once you click Continue, you will advance through a lengthy series of forms in which you:
    • view the order and the fee and click Proceed to Checkout (or possibly Shop for more products),
    • agree to provide your email address and a password,
    • enter your email address and password,
    • complete an application, and
    • acknowledge that your order has been placed.
  4. At this point, the steps for downloading the data are same as described in Step 3, above. Save the files to a location where you can easily find them, such as your Desktop or Documents folder.
  5. If you were unable to download the data from NCDC, you can use the data provided here. Use control-click (Mac) or right-click (PC) to download the Web Form weather_2000.html (HTML File 71kB Apr17 07) and the ASCII File weather_2000.txt (Text File 20kB Apr24 07) to use in this chapter.