NOAA 2000-084
Contact: Patricia Viets


A new CD-ROM version of the Climate Atlas of the Contiguous United States
has been produced by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

The atlas is composed of 737 maps which depict temperature, precipitation, snow, and other parameters for all areas of the contiguous U.S. Maps for Hawaii and Alaska will be available on CD-ROM during the Spring of 2001. This atlas replaces the very popular paper copy Climatic Atlas of the United States, which was published in 1968.

"The new climate atlas will serve the interests of commercial, industrial, agricultural, research, and educational institutions, as well as those from the general public," said Marc Plantico, a climatologist at the Asheville center. "Its primary purpose is to show the ‘normal' or average spatial patterns for the various parameters. Maps of extreme events are also included."

NCDC's partners in the atlas project were the Oregon Climate Service, the Spatial Climatic Analysis Service at Oregon State University, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The CD-ROM contains the station data (in DBF format) used to produce the atlas along with detailed documentation concerning the data used to generate each map and how the statistics were computed. Most atlas products were derived from data from the 1961-1990 period of record.

The new atlas was developed using innovative technology and geographic information systems to objectively generate the maps. The analytical climate model, PRISM (Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model), which was developed by the Spatial Climatic Analysis Service, was used to generate 4 x 4 km grids for many of the parameters. Additional maps were generated by NCDC using ESRI's (Environmental Systems Research Institute) ArcView. ESRI's ArcExplorer is used as the map browser and provides some basic GIS features such as zoom and query.

The CD-ROM is available from NCDC at a cost of $130 (online) or $175 (off-line) plus $11 shipping and handling charge. To order online go to and visit the "Online Store". For off-line orders call (828) 271-4800 or write to National Climatic Data Center, NOAA/NESDIS, Veach-Baley Federal Building, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC, 28801-5001.

Note to Editors: A Web page with atlas information, sample maps, and a link to NCDC's online store is at: