I would like use historic hourly temperature data (Integrated Surface Global Hourly Data, DSI-3505) available from NOAA. Using NOAA's Climate Data Online mapping tool, I select the weather stations in the region I'm interested in (Belgium, in my case) and download the data between two particular dates in a CSV format. Using this data, I can determine an approximation of the temperature at a particular location (long/lat) at a given point in time.

While this data is freely downloadable, it is not clear to me whether I can use it for commercial purposes. The data is not being sold as-is, I'm merely querying it as part of a research project we're doing for another company. That company will use the resulting data internally, not sell or distribute it in any other way.

Before I can download the data, the following text is presented to me (emphasis mine):


WMO Resolution 40 NOAA Policy

The following data and products may have conditions placed on their international commercial use. They can be used within the U.S. or for non-commercial international activities without restriction. The non-U.S. data cannot be redistributed for commercial purposes. Re-distribution of these data by others must provide this same notification. A log of IP addresses accessing these data and products will be maintained and may be made available to data providers.

For details, please consult WMO Resolution 40.

For additional details/information concerning which data are listed as "additional," please see the Microsoft Word document WMO Resolution 40 If you have questions about NCDC's implementation of this resolution, please contact NCDC at [email protected] or 828-271-4800.

I started reading the referenced WMO Resolution 40, but I'm pretty sure I can't figure out what it's saying in a reasonable amount of time. I was hoping someone else has experience with this and can shed some light on the matter.

  • I note email and phone contact points prominently indicated to get answers directly from the source. I suggest contacting them, and then maybe self-answering this question! Apr 10, 2015 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


I have contacted NOAA directly with this question, and the answer was (emphasis mine):

As you have described it below, you are not in violation of Resolution 40. This would apply if you are redistributing the data as-is for profit.

If you are unsure about your particular use case, I suggest contacting NOAA directly.

  • Fantastic! Thank you for going the extra mile to get this clarified!
    – user6188
    Apr 14, 2015 at 9:01

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