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I'm reading a journal paper that uses historical rainfall and temperature data for the United States, starting in 1900. The paper says

The [National Weather Service Cooperative] COOP Network consists of more than 20,000 sites across the United States and has monthly precipitation observations for the past 100 years

Are these data publicly available? I'm looking for these historical rainfall and temperature data, for every individual station, in a machine-readable format that I can use to map stations and their corresponding data to US counties.

I am not looking for forecasts, and it's not clear to me which sources of weather data actually have data going back this far. The NOAA pages usually list data starting in 1981.


The paper is

Ramcharan, Rodney. "Inequality and redistribution: evidence from US counties and states, 1890–1930." The Review of Economics and Statistics 92, no. 4 (2010): 729-744.

Unfortunately, the private data provider that compiled these data (Weather Source) no longer offers them. They told me this directly when I contacted them.

  • Did you contact the author of the paper? He might still have the data. – FuzzyLeapfrog Mar 9 at 6:45
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Containing observations of one or more of the above elements at more than 100,000 stations that are distributed across all continents, the dataset is the world's largest collection of daily climatological data. [...] Station records, some of which extend back to the 19th century, are updated daily where possible and are usually available one to two days after the date and time of the observation. NOAA: GHCN (Global Historical Climatology Network)-Daily

This is from the documentation of the Daily Summaries. They provide access via FTP to all available stations and their data that exist. I checked a few stations and found some data going back to e.g. 1964 etc.

  • Thanks, I'll look into this! It looks useful. Hopefully most of the data go back well before 1964, since I need data for 1900-1940, but I'll check it and report back. – Michael A Mar 9 at 15:32
  • @MichaelA That would be great. Unfortuntaley, one has to look into all files to find out. – FuzzyLeapfrog Mar 9 at 15:40
  • Ah, I see. The Daily Summaries allow you to input dates as far back as 1763, but then you need to search for stations individually (which I'm less than keen to do for 20,000 stations). – Michael A Mar 9 at 15:45
  • @MichaelA You don't have to do this. Go on the FTP and into the folder all. – FuzzyLeapfrog Mar 9 at 15:51
  • @MichaelA You'll find a file for each station including all its data as far back as it exists. – FuzzyLeapfrog Mar 9 at 15:52

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