NOTE: Prospective RAOB customers are encouraged to send ERS a sample of their binary data just to be sure RAOB can successfully process it. Any files greater than 2 gigabyte in size may cause memory problems. If a binary decoder is not able to process a particular variable, just submit a request to ERS for assistance.
- BUFR: RAOB can process the special WMO code form FM 94 BUFR (Binary Universal Form for the Representation of meteorological data) containing various forms of binary meteorological data including sounding data. This decoder only processes the sounding data formats, including the unique formats produced by the United States’ NWS, including the NWS RUC NCEP forecast soundings. All BUFR data is automatically converted to RAOB’s CSV format for display purposes. Currently, only the most common sounding data types are decoded, but if a customer encounters a BUFR sounding datafile that does not process, please notify ERS for resolution. All processed data is automatically converted into the RAOB CSV format for easier viewing of source data.
- GRIB: GRIdded Binary (GRIB) data is defined by WMO FM-92 documents. RAOB can process most GRIB Version 1 data. RAOB can only process GRIB Version 2 data if it does not require access to expensive 3rd party compression schemes (such as JPEG2000). Similar to BUFR binary data, the decoded GRIB data are also automatically converted to RAOB’s CSV format for display purposes. Currently, only the most common gridded / regional data fields are decoded, but if a customer encounters a GRIB sounding datafile that does not process, please notify ERS for resolution.
- netCDF: netCDF (network Common Data Form) is another form of binary data that contains data arrays in grid format, similar to GRIB data. It was developed at the Unidata Program Center in Boulder, Colorado. The netCDF decoder uses the same user display screen as used by the GRIB decoder. RAOB uses the “ncdump” utility to retrieve sounding data for specific locations. This utility was also developed by the Unidata personnel. Currently, only the most common data fields are decoded, but if a customer encounters a netCDF datafile that does not correctly process, please notify ERS for resolution.