Also known as
Model type Tool
Model part of larger framework
Note on status model
Date note status model
Incorporated models or components:
Spatial dimensions 2D, 3D
Spatial extent Continental, Regional-Scale, Landscape-Scale, Watershed-Scale, Reach-Scale
Model domain Climate, Hydrology
One-line model description Extract data from NEXRAD Doppler Radar NetCDFs
Extended model description A Python tool for extracting and/or plotting data from the NEXRAD (WSR-88D) Doppler weather radar network operated by the US National Weather Service. This can be used for inputs to models that require a meteorologic component.

Weather, hydrological,

Name Andy Wickert
Type of contact Model developer
Institute / Organization University of Colorado
Postal address 1 Geological Sciences and INSTAAR
Postal address 2 UCB 450
Town / City Boulder
Postal code 80309
State Colorado
Country United States
Email address

Supported platforms
Unix, Linux, Mac OS
Other platform
Programming language


Other program language
Code optimized Single Processor
Multiple processors implemented
Nr of distributed processors
Nr of shared processors
Start year development 2011
Does model development still take place? Yes
If above answer is no, provide end year model development
Code development status
When did you indicate the 'code development status'?
Model availability As code
Source code availability
(Or provide future intension)
Through web repository, Through CSDMS repository
Source web address
Source csdms web address
Program license type GPL v2
Program license type other
Memory requirements little
Typical run time less than a second to seconds

Describe input parameters A NetCDF file, the name of the variable that you want to extract, and (optionally) a lat/lon position in which you would like to extract data from that variable
Input format
Other input format NetCDF
Describe output parameters A plot, and/or the value of the NetCDF file at the designated cell
Output format ASCII
Other output format
Pre-processing software needed? No
Describe pre-processing software
Post-processing software needed? No
Describe post-processing software
Visualization software needed? No
If above answer is yes
Other visualization software

Describe processes represented by the model Uses the Python NetCDF toolkit (see python-netcdf on apt) to pull the desired information out of NetCDF files generated from NEXRAD (WSR-88D) outputs
Describe key physical parameters and equations
Describe length scale and resolution constraints Angular resolution around the radar; gridded data typically have km-nmi-size pixels
Describe time scale and resolution constraints Radar sweeps every approx. 15 minutes
Describe any numerical limitations and issues

Describe available calibration data sets
Upload calibration data sets if available:
Describe available test data sets
Upload test data sets if available:
Describe ideal data for testing

Do you have current or future plans for collaborating with other researchers? Anyone who wants to use this model is welcome to - and shoot me an email if you'd like my help / like to collaborate on it.
Is there a manual available? No
Upload manual if available:
Model website if any
Model forum / discussion board

This part will be filled out by CSDMS staff

OpenMI compliant No but possible
BMI compliant No but possible
WMT component No but possible
PyMT component
Is this a data component
DOI model 10.1594/IEDA/100150
For model version 0.1
Year version submitted 2012
Link to file
Can be coupled with:
Model info

  • Download NEXRAD-extract [ version: 0.1]
    Doi: 10.1594/IEDA/100150
Nr. of publications: 1
Total citations: 0
h-index: --"--" is not a number.
m-quotient: 0

Link to this page


This is a code to easily extract precipitation values (or any value, really) out of a lat/lon cell in a NetCDF of a NEXRAD level 3 product grid.

You can run it, for example, by typing at the command line:

>>> python -vwp --ncfile='' --varname=Precip1hr --lat=40 --lon=-100

The general syntax is:

radar_netcdf [-hvwp] --ncfile=$netcdfFileName --varname=$varname \
 [--lat=$lat] [--lon=$lon] [--outfile=$outfile] [--help]

where $lat/$lon are of the point of interest, and are optional, and $outfile is used only if --lat and --lon are defined


Written by Andy Wickert on 17 August, 2011

Future plans

Sometime in the future I will work on a whole script to get data off the internet, get the parts that we would need, convert the data into a standard NetCDF, and pull the info out. But this is a start.


Nr. of publications: 1
Total citations: 0
h-index: --"--" is not a number.
m-quotient: 0

Featured publication(s)YearModel describedType of ReferenceCitations
Wickert, A.D.; 2012. NEXRAD-extract, version 0.1.. , , . 10.1594/IEDA/100150
(View/edit entry)
2012 NEXRAD-extract

Source code ref.

See more publications of NEXRAD-extract

Nothing yet, but it might be incorporated in some work with Francis Rengers on gully incision in West Bijou Creek: see




>>> python --help

will give you the following help information (as of 28 April 2012, and unchanged since the code was first completed):

   -h, --help         show this help message and exit
   -v                 If selected, turns on verbosity
   -w                 Write the value at the given lat/lon to file
   -p                 Plots radar output
   --ncfile=NCFILE    NetCDF filename
   --varname=VARNAME  NetCDF variable to get, e.g., 'Precip1hr'
   --lat=LAT          Latitude of point to get data. Optional, default = none
   --lon=LON          Longitude of point to get data. Optional, default = none
   --outfile=OUTFILE  Output file for lat/lon data on precip. Optional: only
                      used if lat/lon are defined, default = NEXRAD_ll_out.txt.

Input Files

You need a NetCDF of a Nexrad Level III weather radar product. NOAA has a nice Java tool to obtain NetCDF's from their own data format:

Output Files

Right now, the code will only output values (e.g., precip) to a file. I may work on making it be able to do latitude, longitude, and/or time as well.