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Data Structure

Product Manager

Data organization is determined by Product Manager that comes with your data ingest system.  The Product Manager is responsible for taking in the weather data from a satellite or land line connection, filtering and organizing the data into files.   These files will exist on a file server somewhere on your local network.  It is up to the system administrator to install and setup the Product Manager. 

WXP can use the output of several product managers.  The two most common are the WXP ingestor and the LDM (Local Data Manager).  The WXP ingestor comes with Unisys NOAAPORT systems and can be used with other WMO type data streams.  The LDM comes from Unidata (www.unidata.ucar.edu).  Both Product Managers offer similar capabilities.  The major difference is that WXP is aimed at local data archival whereas the LDM can also be used to forward data to a number of remote LDM servers.

To access the data on your PC or Workstation, you need to mount (or attach) the data.   On Unix systems, this will be done using NFS (Network File Systems) and on a PC using SMB (Mapping a network drive).  Again, this should be done by the system administrator.

Data Organization

The tutorials will assume the use of NOAAPORT data from the WXP ingestor (Product Manager).  It is critical that the data be organized in a way to make it easy for additional processing.  For example, the WXP Product Manager saves data into files based on time and data type.  For example, all surface observations for an hour go into a single file.  So a day's worth of surface data would be stored in 24 files.   Textual forecast information will be saved into four 6 hourly files (0, 6, 12 and 18Z).  In essence, there could be thousands of products in a single file.  This is the case for model gridpoint data where all grids for each model is saved into a single file.  On the other hand, satellite images and radar data are saved one image/scan per file.  The idea is to save the data efficiently, eliminating the creation of thousands of small files and collecting similar data into a single file.

NOAAPORT Data Layout - WXP Product Manager

The tutorials will assume that the NOAAPORT data server is mounted to the local workstation as "/noaaport".  NOAAPORT has four channels, each put into its own subdirectory:

  • /noaaport/nwstg - NWSTG (old FOS) data including observations, forecasts, advisories, warnings, GRIB and NIDS data
  • /noaaport/goese - GOES East satellite imagery
  • /noaaport/goesw - GOES West satellite imagery
  • /noaaport/spare - Spare channel data

All files will be saved based on time and file type.  The standard file name convention is:


Where yymmddhh is the time stamp of the file.  In general, two digit year plus month, day and hour.  All data is saved using Universal time (GMT or Zulu).   For example, 01062022 is 22Z June 20, 2001.  In some cases, the minute will be included in the filename after the hour.  The type is the type of data.  This describes the contents of the file.  For example, sao is for surface observations, upa is for upper air data, rad is for radar data, sev is for severe weather advisories and warnings and for is for textual forecast data.  The form is the format of the data.   Some examples are wmo for WMO formatted text data, wxp for WXP decoded data files, grb for binary formatted grid data (GRIB format), and sat for satellite imagery.  So:


is WXP converted surface observations for 22Z June 20, 2001.

NOAAPORT Directory Layout (with file extensions)

  • /noaaport/nwstg/data - observational and text forecast data
    • _cman.wmo - CMAN synoptic data
    • _frt.wmo - frontal analyses
    • _mod.wmo - model output data (MOS, tabular forecast output)
    • _pirep.wmo - pilot reports
    • _prf.bfr - BUFR formatted profiler data
    • _rad.wmo - MDR radar data
    • _rcm.wmo - RCM radar data (saved in 30 minute files)
    • _rvr.wmo - hydrological data (SHEF, river data)
    • _sao.wmo - surface observations (METARs)
    • _sat.wmo - derived satellite data
    • _syn.wmo - synoptic surface data
    • _term.wmo - terminal forecasts (TAFs)
    • _upa.wmo - upper air data (raobs)
    • _wws.wmo - severe weather watch box data
  • /noaaport/nwstg/text - text output from NWS and WFOs
    • _cli.wmo - climatic data
    • _for.wmo - forecast data
    • _sev.wmo - severe weather watches, advisories and warnings
    • _sfc.wmo - miscellaneous surface data
    • _sum.wmo - weather summaries
  • /noaaport/nwstg/model - model gridpoint data (GRIB)
    • _avnh.grb - Aviation model, northern hemisphere grid
    • _avna.grb - Aviation model, North American grid
    • _avus.grb - Aviation model, US grid (211)
    • _avn0e.grb - Aviation model, thinned grid (8 separate file types)
    • _ecf.grb - ECMWF model
    • _egr.grb - UKMET model
    • _eta.grb - Eta model
    • _etak.grb - Eta model, Alaskan grid
    • _ngm.grb - NGM model
    • _ngak.grb - NGM model, Alaskan grid
    • _ngna.grb - NGM model, North American grid
    • _ruc.grb - RUC model
    • _sww.grb - Wind wave model
  • /noaaport/nwstg/bufr - BUFR formatted data
  • /noaaport/nwstg/graphic - Redbook graphic (metafile) data
  • /noaaport/nwstg/nids/XXX - NIDS data (each site in own subdirectory XXX)
    • _n0r.nid - base reflectivity, tilt 0
    • _n0v.nid - velocity, tilt 0
    • _n0s.nid - storm relative velocity, tilt 0
    • _ncr.nid - composite reflectivity
    • _ntp.nid - storm total precipitation
    • _nvl.nid - vertically integrated liquid
    • _dpa.nid - digital precipitation array
  • /noaaport/nwstg/nldn - lightning data
  • /noaaport/nwstg/admin - administrative messages
  • /noaaport/nwstg/convert - WXP converted files
    • _rad.wxp - MDR radar mosaics
    • _rcm.wxp - RCM radar mosaics
    • _sao.wxp - surface data (METAR)
    • _syn.wxp - synoptic data
    • _upa.wxp - upper air data
  • /noaaport/goese/sat - satellite imagery from GOES East
    • _gncvi.sat - visible image, national composite sector
    • _gnhvi.sat - visible image, northern hemisphere sector
    • _gecvi.sat - visible image, eastern CONUS sector (1km resolution)
    • _gnci11.sat - infrared image, national composite sector
    • _gnci3.sat - 3 micron IR image, national composite sector
    • _gnci12.sat - 12 micron IR image, national composite sector
    • _gncwv.sat - water vapor channel, national composite sector (equivalent images for other sectors)
  • /noaaport/goesw/sat - satellite imagery from GOES West (same as GOES East except for western CONUS sector)

Other product managers may organize data differently.  The distribution version of WXP is setup to follow this data structure.

For further information about WXP, email technical-support@weather.unisys.com
Last updated by Dan Vietor on June 20, 2001