Feature article

Web access to the National Climate Database

Part of the computer suite which manages the National Climate Database.

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NIWA’s National Climate Database provides an archive for thousands of weather and other environmental measurements made around New Zealand every day. The database contains daily, hourly, 10 minute, and monthly observations and summaries of data, including rainfall, wind, temperature, soil moisture, solar radiation, and humidity.

The web interface, ‘CliFlo’, is designed to help public users of the climate data to navigate the complex array of data tables, types, and sources in the database to extract the data of their choice. The hub of the system is the Database Query form, with a sequence of steps that customises and runs data queries, and saves them for use again later if required.

Once a user has logged into the website, there are four essential steps in building the data query:

  1. Select the data type – for example, hourly or daily rainfall data, or monthly evapotranspiration. A number of data types can be selected at the same time.
  2. Choose one or more observing stations for which the above data types are available. Searches can be done using a range of station properties, such as the name of the location, geographic location, and whether all or just some of the data are obtainable. A number of stations can be used in the subsequent query.
  3. Nominate the date range for which data are required.
  4. Design the output format – the data can be transferred with different time and file formats.

Once these four steps are complete, the query can be saved and submitted.

For most new users it takes some practice to become familiar with the functionality of the web page. To help with this, CliFlo has online context sensitive help, and a free facility to experiment with data from Reefton.

New users are welcome to browse registration and subscription information online or contact cliflo@niwa.co.nz for further information.