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National Centers for Environmental Information

National Centers for Environmental Information
Agency overview
Formed2015 (2015)
Preceding agencies
JurisdictionUnited States government
HeadquartersAsheville, North Carolina
Employeesapproximately 500
Annual budget$71.4 million (2023)
Agency executive
  • Director Derek Arndt (2023)
Parent agencyNational Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service

The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is a U.S. government agency that manages one of the world's largest archives of atmospheric, coastal, geophysical, and oceanic data. The current director is Derek Arndt.[1]

NCEI is operated by the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which operates under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In addition to archiving data, NCEI develops products and services that make data readily available to scientists, government officials, the business community, academia, non-governmental organizations, and the general public.

NCEI provides environmental data, products, and services covering the depths of the ocean to the surface of the Sun.[2]


NCEI was created in 2015 from the merger of three NOAA data centers:

NCEI was established by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235 in response to increasing demand for environmental information. The organization was created by merging the three existing NOAA National Data Centers with the goal of streamlining the collection and preservation of environmental data.

The merger, which came in response to increasing demand for environmental information, was intended to make NOAA's data more useful through the application of consistent data stewardship practices across all science disciplines. NCEI works with the ISC World Data System to make data free and accessible.[3]

Data and services

This graphic from a study by NCEI

The NCEI archive contains more than 60 petabytes of data, equivalent to more than 700 million filing cabinets filled with documents. NCEI offers users access to tens of thousands of datasets and hundreds of products. Data are collected by NOAA, other agencies and departments of the U.S. government, as well as by other institutions, organizations, and governments around the world.[4]

Environmental data are collected from many sources, including satellites, land-based stations, ocean buoys, ships, remotely operated underwater vehicles, weather balloons, radar, forecasting and climate models, and paleoclimatological research. Once transmitted to NCEI, data are archived and made available for use by researchers and others in public and private sectors. The data and products offer information about climate and weather,[5] coasts, oceans,[6] and geophysics. [7]

NCEI Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) collaborate on national and international research projects. In 2022, they collaborated with scientists from across the globe to produce world-class research and authored more than 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Areas of study were as varied as the environmental data housed at NCEI: hurricanes, drought, ocean warming, fire science, solar flares, artificial intelligence, marine microplastics, and many more. [8]

NCEI data users

NCEI resources are used for scientific research and commercial applications in many fields, including agriculture, forestry, marine and coastal ecosystems, tourism, transportation, civil infrastructure, energy, transportation, water resources, energy, health, insurance, litigation, and national security.[9]

For example, retail and manufacturing businesses use climate data to assess how weather has influenced past sales so they can better plan for the future.[10] Corn farmers rely on NCEI data to decide how much fertilizer to apply.[11] The reinsurance industry—which offers insurance to insurance companies—uses NCEI data to determine risks associated with natural disasters.[12] Cattle ranchers use NCEI's weekly U.S. Drought Monitor[13] to make decisions about land management, herd size, and feed purchases.[14] The freight railway industry uses a number of NCEI products—including Local Climatological Data, Integrated Surface Daily Database, and Global Historical Climatology Network[15]—to predict where tracks might be blocked by landslides and to help trains avoid the path of severe storms.[16] U.S. fishing boats use NCEI ocean and coastal data to determine where fishing conditions are most promising.[17] The third-party weather service industry uses NCEI data to create customized forecasts and other tools to serve a wide range of clients, such as transportation companies seeking to build facilities where fog or snow is less likely to create problems.[18]


Map of NCEI Locations as of 2021

NCEI is headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, with other primary locations in Boulder, Colorado; Silver Spring, Maryland; and Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi.[19]

NOAA's six Regional Climate Services Directors, which are part of NCEI, represent the Eastern, Central, Southern, Pacific, Western, and Alaska regions. They work with a broad range of partners to provide climate information specific to each region.[20]

Map of NCEI's regional climate center locations and coverage areas

NCEI manages the Regional Climate Center Program,[21] which provides services through six regional offices:

NCEI partners with academic and nonprofit institutions known as cooperative institutes to conduct research and perform tasks that support its mission and goals.[22] The cooperative institutes affiliated with NCEI are as follows:

See also


  1. ^ "About". National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). January 27, 2023. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  2. ^ "About". National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). January 27, 2023. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  3. ^ "Regular Members-World Data System". ICSU WDS. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  4. ^ "Day In, Day Out, NCEI Takes Data Seriously". National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). July 6, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  5. ^ Corbett, Jessica (August 8, 2023). "A Record 15 Billion-Dollar Disasters Have Hit US So Far This Year: NOAA". Retrieved August 11, 2023.
  6. ^ "ECO Environmental, Coastal & Offshore". May 16, 2023. Retrieved August 11, 2023.
  7. ^ "NCEI: NOAA's Data Archive and More". National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  8. ^ "Moving Science Forward". National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). February 13, 2023. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  9. ^ "Sectoral". NCEI. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  10. ^ "Retail and Manufacturing" (PDF). NCEI. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  11. ^ "Agriculture" (PDF). NCEI. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  12. ^ "Value of the Data Case Study: Reinsurance". NCEI. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  13. ^ "National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) |". Retrieved August 11, 2023.
  14. ^ "Value of the Data: U.S. Drought Monitor". NCEI. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  15. ^ "Weather and Climate Quick Links". NCEI. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  16. ^ "NOAA Climate and Weather Data Carry Weight in Transportation Sector". NCEI. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  17. ^ "NOAA Data Help Land the Next Catch". NCEI. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  18. ^ "Weather Data: Beyond the Forecast". NCEI. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  19. ^ "NCEI Locations". NCEI. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  20. ^ "Regional Climate Services Directors". NCEI. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  21. ^ "Regional Climate Centers". NCEI. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  22. ^ "NCEI's Cooperative Institutes: Partners in Science". NCEI. Retrieved August 8, 2023.

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