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Where can I find the NOAA's winds aloft data in a form that I can use in an application? I plan to develop a software able to calculate the flight path of a lighter than air aircraft or drone using windspeed data from the NOAA Global Forecast System.

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  • $\begingroup$ If you don't get an answer here, you might also try earth.SE $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Nov 13 '15 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ This X-Plane plugin pulls NOAA data (which I believe includes the GFS winds aloft). It uses a program called wgrib2 to parse the information. The plugin is open source, that should get you started. $\endgroup$ – fooot Nov 13 '15 at 16:00
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See the following web page:

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/tg/general.php

This page describes getting started with the HTTP or FTP access to NOAA weather service APIs.

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The GFS products can be accessed at http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/products/gfs/. You can use the filename scheme they list to pull down current forecast products from FTP. These are the native output grids in grib2 format.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'll update this with OpenDAP sources if I find any when I get a chance later. $\endgroup$ – casey Nov 13 '15 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ It looks like the OpenDAP access might not be realtime, but you can take a look at nomads.ncdc.noaa.gov/dods/NCEP_GFS and once you drill down to a specific file you can see the URL model for that access method. $\endgroup$ – casey Nov 14 '15 at 3:07
  • $\begingroup$ There are quite a lot of data sets on that page. Which one is winds aloft? $\endgroup$ – Tyler Durden Nov 14 '15 at 3:26
  • $\begingroup$ @TylerDurden the one labelled "GFS - World Area Forecast System Upper Air Forecast (1.25 degree resolution)" has winds from 850 mb up to 100 mb. Also the "GFS - Binary Universal Form for the Representation of meteorological data (BUFR) Inital BUFR Data Dump Files" contain winds aloft / upper air data that is suitable for use in the BUFRLIB program. I haven't looked, but the data behind ensemble.ucar.edu/sounding.php (WRF ARW instead of GFS) might also be available somehow. $\endgroup$ – casey Nov 14 '15 at 3:59

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