NCDC International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) Project, Version 2 (Version Superseded)

browse graphicIBTrACS storm tracks for seasons 1947 through 2007.
**Version 2 of the dataset has been superseded by a newer version. Users should not use version 2 except in rare cases (e.g., when reproducing previous studies that used version 2).** The International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) dataset was developed by The NOAA National Climatic Data Center, which took the initial step of synthesizing and merging best track data from all official Tropical Cyclone Warning Centers (TCWCs) and the WMO Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers (RSMCs) who are responsible for developing and archiving best track data worldwide. In recognizing the deficiency in global tropical cyclone data, and the lack of a publically available dataset, the IBTrACS dataset was produced, which, for the first time, combines existing best track data from over 10 international forecast centers. The dataset contains the position, maximum sustained winds, minimum central pressure, and storm nature for every tropical cyclone globally at 6-hr intervals in UTC. Statistics from the merge are also provided (such as number of centers tracking the storm, range in pressure, median wind speed, etc.). The dataset period is from 1848 to the present with dataset updates performed semi-annually--in the boreal spring following the completion of the Northern Hemisphere TC season and in the boreal autumn following the completion of the Southern Hemisphere TC season. The dataset is archived as netCDF files but can be accessed via a variety of user-friendly formats to facilitate data analysis, including netCDF and CSV formatted files. Version 2 changes include source data updates, bug fixes, adjustments and corrections as well as additional source datasets.
  • Users must cite this dataset as: Kenneth R. Knapp, Michael Kruk, David Levinson, and Howard Diamond (2008). NCDC International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) Project, Version 2. [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. DOI:TBD [access date].
  • NCEI DSI 9637_01
  • gov.noaa.ncdc:C00800
Download Data
  • IBTrACS Public FTP Server (download)
    Download data and documentation for version 2 of the dataset (note: this version has been superseded by a newer version--see associated resources)
Distribution Formats
  • netCDF
  • CSV
Ordering Instructions Ordering Instructions: Visit the website for the dataset or contact NCDC to place an order through the User Engagement and Services Branch. For more information about ordering from NCDC, visit http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/customer-support
Distributor Customer Engagement Branch
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
1-828-271-4800
ncei.orders@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact IBTrACS Dataset POC
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
+1 (828) 271-4339
IBTrACS.Team@noaa.gov
Time Period 1848-01-01 to Present
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 80.0
S: -80.0
E: 180.0
W: -180.0
Spatial Coverage Map
Dataset Information
General Documentation
Associated Resources
Publication Dates
  • publication: 2008-12-15
Edition Version 2
Data Presentation Form Digital table - digital representation of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns
Dataset Progress Status Historical archive - data has been stored in an offline storage facility
Data Update Frequency Not planned
Purpose The major constraint in improving scientific understanding of the observed trends and variability of tropical cyclone activity has been a lack of accurate, quality controlled best track data for all tropical cyclone basins globally.
Dataset Citation
  • Users must cite this dataset as: Kenneth R. Knapp, Michael Kruk, David Levinson, and Howard Diamond (2008). NCDC International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) Project, Version 2. [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. DOI:TBD [access date].
Cited Authors
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Originators
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Publishers
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Acknowledgments
  • The following organizations provided best track data which are included in the IBTrACS data set: * Australian Bureau of Meteorology * Chinese Meteorological Agency Shanghai Typhoon Institute * Hong Kong Observatory * Joint Typhoon Warning Center * RSMC Honolulu, HI, USA (NOAA Central Pacific Hurricane Center) * RSMC La Reunion * RSMC Miami, FL, USA (NOAA Tropical Prediction Center) (HURDAT) * RSMC Nadi, Fiji * RSMC New Delhi, India * RSMC Tokyo, Japan * TCWC Wellington, New Zealand Also, special thanks to * the NCDC Climate Database Modernization Program (CDMP) for digitizing hardcopies of best track data. * Charlie Neumann, for making his Southern Hemisphere dataset available for this work
Theme keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Phenomena > Cyclones
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Phenomena > Hurricanes
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Phenomena > Monsoons
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Phenomena > Storms
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Phenomena > Typhoons
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Winds > Boundary Layer Winds
  • Atmosphere > Atmospheric Pressure > Anticyclones/cyclones
  • Atmosphere > Atmospheric Pressure > Sea Level Pressure
  • Atmosphere > Atmospheric Winds > Surface Winds
  • Oceans > Ocean Pressure > Sea Level Pressure
  • Oceans > Ocean Winds > Surface Winds
  • Oceans > Coastal Processes > Storm Surge
Data Center keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Place keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • Geographic Region > Equatorial
  • Geographic Region > Global Ocean
  • Geographic Region > Mid-latitude
  • Geographic Region > Tropics
  • Ocean > Atlantic Ocean > South Atlantic Ocean
  • Ocean > Atlantic Ocean > North Atlantic Ocean
  • Ocean > Indian Ocean
  • Ocean > Pacific Ocean > Eastern Pacific Ocean
  • Ocean > Pacific Ocean > North Pacific Ocean
  • Ocean > Pacific Ocean > South Pacific Ocean
  • Ocean > Pacific Ocean > Western Pacific Ocean
Stratum keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • Vertical Location > Sea Surface
  • Vertical Location > Land Surface
Use Constraints
  • Version 2 of the dataset has been superseded by a newer version. Users should not use version 2 except in rare cases (e.g., when reproducing previous studies that used version 2).
  • Users must cite this dataset as: Kenneth R. Knapp, Michael Kruk, David Levinson, and Howard Diamond (2008). NCDC International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) Project, Version 2. [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. DOI:TBD [access date].
  • NCEI cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in the data, nor as a result of the failure of the data to function on a particular system. NCEI makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NCEI can only certify that the data it distributes are an authentic copy of the records that were accepted for inclusion in the NCEI archives.
Fees
  • In most cases, electronic downloads of the data are free, however fees may apply for data certifications, copies of analog materials, and data distribution on physical media.
Lineage information for: dataset
Lineage Statement Data were obtained from numerous sources. Upon receipt of the electronic files, data were converted to common format (netCDF). Thereafter, numerous merging procedures were implemented, including an assessment of storm position, the identification of unique storms, and an accounting for a variety of storm tracks, storm splits, and storm mergers. An automated algorithm was developed to identify storms tracked by multiple centers by sorting storms in time and space. Any observations at identical times and within 111 kilometers, were identified as identical storms. Once a TC was identified as unique, a storm serial number was created which distinctively numbers the storm. IBTrACS algorithms read all the individual storm tracks from the merged files and create one combined storm track with a single position, wind and pressure every 6 hours (at 00, 06, 12 and 18UTC). Objective automated quality control algorithms were developed and incorporated for the maximum sustained wind and minimum central pressure for each tropical cyclone and time step. These data are in netCDF, with one file per cyclone. Statistics from the merge are also provided (such as number of centers tracking the storm, range in pressure, median wind speed, etc.).
Processor
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Processing Steps
  • The dataset contains the position, maximum sustained winds, minimum central pressure, storm nature and other parameters for every tropical cyclone globally at 6-hr intervals in UTC. IBTrACS data are available in various formats in use by the tropical cyclone community. Users should select the format based on the parameters which they need, since not all parameters are available in each format. Wherever possible, CF convention attributes have been used to store variables. Overviews and summaries of IBTrACS data can be found here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ibtracs ; The CF metadata convention is described at: http://cf-pcmdi.llnl.gov/ . For more information, visit http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ibtracs/
  • Any observations at identical times and within 111 kilometers (approx. 1 degree latitude) were identified as identical storms. In order to create a dataset that was globally homogeneous, the maximum winds are standardize to a single 10-minute averaging period as it is the global standard set by the World Meteorological Organization.
  • For more information, please refer to the newest version of IBTrACS and the dataset home page.
Source Datasets
  • Tropical Cyclone Data from Hong Kong Observatory
    • Hong Kong Observatory Best Track Data (download)
      Tropical Cyclone Data from Hong Kong Observatory
    • Description of Source: Source Contribution: Source dataset
    • Temporal extent used: 1961-01-01 to 2008-12-31
  • Tropical Cyclone Data from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center
    • Central Pacific Hurricane Center Home Page
      • RSMC Hawaii Best Track Data (download)
        Tropical Cyclone Data from RSMC Hawaii
      • Description of Source: Source Contribution: Source dataset
      • Temporal extent used: 1966-01-01 to 2008-12-31
    • Meteo-France - Centre des Cyclones Tropicaux de la Reunion
      • RSMC Reunion Best Track Data (download)
        Tropical Cyclone Data from RSMC Reunion
      • Description of Source: Source Contribution: Source dataset
      • Temporal extent used: 1848-01-01 to 2008-12-31
    • Hurricane Research Division Re-Analysis Project
    • International Best Track Data from RSMC Tokyo-Typhoon Center
      • Tropical Cyclone Best Tracks Download Page (download)
        Tropical Cyclone Data from RSMC Tokyo-Typhoon Center, Japan Meteorological Service
      • Description of Source: Source Contribution: Source dataset
      • Temporal extent used: 1951-01-01 to 2008-12-31
    • Tropical Cyclone Data from TCWC Wellington, New Zealand Meteorological Service
    • Southern Hemisphere dataset
      • Southern Hemisphere Data set (download)
        Tropical Cyclone Data of the Southern Hemisphere
      • Description of Source: Source Contribution: Source dataset
      • Temporal extent used: 1960-01-01 to 2008-12-31
    • Global Consolidated Tropical Cyclone Data
      • Typhoons Analogs
        Lineage information for: repository
        Processing Steps
        • 2015-04-22T00:00:00 - NOAA created the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) by merging NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), and National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), including the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), per the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235. NCEI launched publicly on April 22, 2015.
        Last Modified: 2018-05-04
        For questions about the information on this page, please email: ncei.orders@noaa.gov