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How can I obtain historical, or archived, data?

NDBC Web Site

The NDBC web server stores most of the important measurements for the entire period of record at each station. These measurements are stored in several different files. Except for the most recent year, each file contains a certain type of data for an entire year at a given station. Observations for the current year are stored in monthly files for each station. For a description of each file format and contents, see the measurement descriptions page.

You can access these files in three different ways. First, you can access them through each station’s page by scrolling to the bottom and clicking on the “Historical Data and Climatic Summary” link. Second, you can click on the historical data tab on top of the map of the home page. This will provide you with maps showing the locations of our historical data. Finally, you can go to our tabular index of historical data files.

Another helpful document to access is our data inventory. The inventory shows what period of time the stations were operating and what they measured. Changes in buoy hull type, and therefore, anemometer height, are also recorded in this document.

For information on pre-done climatic summaries of the data, see the climatic summary tables.

Pre-1996 spectral wave data, showing how the wave energy varies with frequency, is not available on the web server. You will need get the measurements from the NODC CD-ROM described in the next paragraph.

DART Data Archive

NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) is the long-term archive center for recovered DART data, please go to for more information.

NOAA Marine Environmental Buoy Database

The National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) has produced this set of CD-ROMs which contain moored buoy and C-MAN observations. Over a dozen CD-ROMs contain data in the original TD-291 format that NDBC uses for archival. Recent monthly files are posted on-line until a CD is created. All of the metadata is included with each observation. Software included on the CD-ROM will extract the basic observations and construct data inventories. See, or call (301)713-3277, for more information.

Ship Observations and Other Marine Climatologies

The National Climatic Data Center archives all marine surface observations by geographic square and time. They have a variety of marine climatic atlases in paper or CD-ROM. Contact them at, or by calling (828) 271-4800.