Data Access

CDIP data can be accessed using a variety of data services from a number of organizations:

  • CDIP THREDDS data server
  • CDIP Python API
  • CDIP CGI scripts
  • CDIP web
  • NDBC web and Dial-A-Buoy service
  • NWS

CDIP THREDDS data server

Our THREDDS data server is the preferred method of accessing the data. Both observed and modeled data can be browsed using the default web interface or can be automatically accessed using the OpenDap url builder provided by THREDDS. In addition, the data can be accessed programmatically by Python using the netCDF library or by Matlab.

To get started check out our plotting examples.

CDIP netCDF data files

A good way to see which data files we serve is to browse them using the THREDDS web interface.

  • Archived data folder contains data of all past station deployments and should not change over time.
  • Realtime data folder contains data of the current deployment and is updated every 30 minutes.
  • Modeled data folder contains output from a variety of CDIP wave models.

Within the Realtime folder is the file which contains the latest 3 days of data for all stations. In addition, for each station there are two files: an rt file which contains wave spectra and wave parameters for the current deployment and an xy file which contains buoy motion data in 3 directions (vertical, east-west and north-south) for the current deployment.

Within the Archive folder each station has two types of file: the deployment file indicated with a deployment number (e.g is the 42’nd deployment of station 036) and an historic file containing wave spectra and parameters over all deployments (but contains no xy data).

Within the Models folder are three data sets containing model output for validation points, grid points and alongshore points. Each such point can be thought of as a virtual buoy. The validation points are specific points chosen to help validate the models, the grid points are used to produce maps of wave statistics such as significant wave height (Hs) and the alongshore points are nearshore points generally 10m - 20m in depth and 100m apart that extend over the entire California coast.


Currently our netCDF data files cannot be aggregated across deployments using the THREDDS data server. For example to retrieve all of the xy data for station 036 currently requires opening 44 deployment files. To handle this problem and other aggregation problems with the wave models, we have developed a Python API with methods that seamlessly access both observed and modeled data.

Check out our Python API plotting examples.

CDIP CGI Scripts

In our effort to modernize data access we are recommending using THREDDS because … well, that’s what it was designed for - serving data! However, we do have a few CGI scripts that fulfill some needs in a straightforward way.

  • ndar.cdip To access buoy data and non-buoy wave data
  • sccoos.cdip To get a summary of our active stations including location, wave parameters and depth
  • MEM_2dspectrum.cdip To create a 2D (dir/freq) energy spectra using the Maximum Entropy Method (MEM)

CDIP web

The CDIP website also has a number of ways to interactively access our data as well as a variety of statistical summaries and graphical representations of the data.

NDBC web and Dial-a-buoy

The latest data from CDIP stations are also available through the National Data Buoy Center’s (NDBC) web page and their Dial-A-Buoy service. Every thirty minutes the latest measurements from CDIP’s buoys are transmitted to the NDBC in FM-13 format. The NDBC then distributes these data through their Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). NDBC identification numbers are displayed on CDIP web site station pages.


Data are also transmitted every thirty minutes to the National Weather Service (NWS). These data are incorporated into their weather reports, marine forecasts and weather radio broadcasts.

Data Use and Acknowledgements

CDIP data and products are freely available for public use, provided that they are not altered in any way. When used for web displays and online resources, please provide a link to the CDIP homepage. For instance, in standard html:

Data courtesy of <a href=>CDIP</a>

For offline references, please choose the appropriate form from the recommended acknowledgements below.

  • Short form (figure captions, etc.) “… data from CDIP, Scripps Institution of Oceanography.”
  • Longer form (in text) “…data were furnished by the Coastal Data Information Program, Integrative Oceanography Division, operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.”
  • Full form (acknowledgements at conclusion of papers, etc.) “…data were furnished by the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP), Integrative Oceanography Division, operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, under the sponsorship of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.”