NOAA 2002-158
Contact: Pat Viets
NOAA News Releases 2002
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Climate Atlas by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center

A new CD-ROM version of the Climate Atlas of the United States is now available from the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The CD-ROM atlas consists of more than 2,000 maps that depict normal or mean temperature, precipitation, snow, and other parameters for all areas of the United States for the period 1961-1990.

The atlas, produced by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C., replaces the paper copy Climatic Atlas of the United States, which was published in 1968. It supersedes the earlier CD-ROM version published in 2000 that contained maps for the contiguous states only. The new CD-ROM atlas contains climate maps for all 50 states.

The new atlas contains weather station data for 7,700 locations, along with detailed documentation of the data sets used to generate the maps.

“The new Climate Atlas is useful to planners in commercial and industrial sectors, farmers and the agricultural community, climate researchers, and of course educational institutions,” said Marc Plantico, chief of the NCDC product development branch at the Asheville center. “The new Climate Atlas shows the "normal" or average spatial patterns for the various parameters. Maps of extreme climate events are also included.”

NCDC developed the new atlas using innovative technology and Geographic Information Systems to generate the high quality maps. Parameter-regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM), an analytical spatial climate model developed by the Spatial Climate Analysis Service at Oregon State University, produced 4 X 4 km grids for many of the parameters. NCDC generated maps of these PRISM grids using the Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (ESRI) ArcView and also created maps for several additional parameters. ESRI’s ArcExplorer is the map browser and provides basic GIS features such as zoom and query.

The CD-ROM is available from NCDC at a cost of $130 (on-line) or $175 (off-line) plus $11 shipping and handling charge. To order on-line go to and visit the "On-line 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. Individual Atlas maps are also available on-line in PDF and in ESRI shape file formats from the on-line store.

NCDC is part of the NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA Satellite and Information Services), the nation’s primary source of space-based meteorological and climate data. NOAA Satellite and Information Services operates the nation's environmental satellites, which are used for weather forecasting, climate monitoring and other environmental applications such as fire detection, ozone monitoring and sea surface temperature measurements.

NOAA Satellite and Information Services also operates three data centers, including NCDC, which house global data bases in climatology, oceanography, solid earth geophysics, marine geology and geophysics, solar-terrestrial physics, and paleoclimatology.

To learn more about NOAA Satellite and Information Services, please visit:

Note to Editors: Sample maps are available at: