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Restricted Data Information
As more and more sources of input data become available for use in numerical
modeling and research at NCEP, there are certain situations where a data
provider, in return for access to and use of their data, may place restrictions
on the circumstances under which such data may be redistributed to persons
outside of the community of NCEP Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing
System (WCOSS) users. Any
data that is prohibited from being fully and freely redistributable to the
general public is considered to be
restricted. NCEP is required to honor
all restrictions placed on the data we receive from any provider. Each
type of restricted data has its own unique set of requirements, which are
explained in further detail below. In general however, whenever any data
is restricted, the restriction remains in force regardless of any reformatting,
rearrangement, or method of presentation of the data. For example, restricted
data cannot be graphically plotted on a web page that is accessible to the
general public. Likewise, quality-controlled data values that are directly
derived from restricted data are themselves also subject to the same
restriction(s) as the original data.
To view a copy of the official NCEP policy pertaining to restricted data,
Each of the data types listed below is restricted in some way. Files on the
NCEP WCOSS which contain any such data (including, but not limited to, database
files, model "dump" files, and PREPBUFR files) are accessible only to NCEP
WCOSS users who consent to join a special UNIX group (rstprod). Such consent
is implied once a user registers to obtain access to the restricted data as
NCEP WCOSS users, who are granted access to restricted data, are responsible
to ensure that any copies of the data they make (whether exact or reformatted)
retain the restricted access that is applied to the data by NCEP Central
Operations. In most cases this is accomplished by ensuring the group ownership
of the data maintains its rstprod setting and the world access permissions of
the data are turned off. An example of this procedure is:
Restricted data users are NOT allowed to change the group ownership and world
access permission for the duration of the time the restriction is in place.
The exact duration of restriction is data dependent and is outlined in the links below.
Once a user is granted access, he or she is capable of redistributing restricted data
to any outside entity providing that that entity meets the access and usage requirements
for the particular data in question. Before making any such redistribution of data,
the user is required to:
1. Inform the intended recipient of the restrictions on the data
2. Obtain an e-mail acknowledgement from the recipient that they understand
and will themselves comply with the restrictions.
3. Send a copy of the acknowledgement to the Restricted Data Management
Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) for archival purposes.
Sample e-mail templates for completing the required "inform and acknowledge"
procedure are provided on the individual web pages for each type of restricted
data listed below. Keep in mind that if a recipient were to subsequently and
deliberately violate any restrictions on a particular type of restricted data,
there is always a chance that NCEP as an organization could find itself cut
off from that data by the original data provider. In most cases however, once
a NCEP WCOSS user has obeyed the restrictions themselves and completed the three
steps above, the NCEP WCOSS user has fully met their obligation.
Please note that, in cases where a NCEP WCOSS user may wish to redistribute a
particular type of restricted data to an allowable recipient on a regular
(e.g. daily, weekly, etc.) basis, it is not necessary to undergo the above
"inform and acknowledge" procedure for every single data transfer; rather,
in such cases, the procedure should be completed prior to the initial data
transfer, with the explicitly-stated understanding that the underlying
agreement remains in effect for all subsequent redistributions of the same
data type to the same recipient.
There are currently seven observational data types that are restricted.
For complete details regarding each type, including the specific nature
of the inherent restrictions as well as any special requirements,
click the appropriate link:
There is also one model data set that is restricted. The full
resolution ECMWF deterministic and ensemble data sets may not
be redistrubuted outside of the NWS.
The ability to access restricted data types, and the inherent
obligations that accompany this ability, may not be of interest to every
NCEP WCOSS user. Therefore, the decision to
request access to restricted data is entirely voluntary, and there is no
expectation that every user will elect to do so. Users who decide not to
gain access to restricted data will still have full access to all of the
unrestricted data available at NCEP, and they will also be able to access
special unrestricted versions of many of the model "dump" files,
PREPBUFR files, and the like. These files will have the same structure and
applicability as their original counterparts, but all of the restricted data
will have been removed so that such files can be made fully and freely
available to the general public without condition.
If you are a current NCEP WCOSS user, if you have fully read and understood the
above information, and if you
agree to follow and abide by these obligations, then click the icon below
to access a short online registration form. The completed form will
automatically be sent via e-mail to your NCEP WCOSS Account Sponsor
, who in turn must then directly e-mail it to the NCEP WCOSS system
administrators in order to indicate approval of your request for access
to restricted data.
To apply for restricted data access on WCOSS and submit the form click here:
To apply for restricted data access on RDHPCS systems and request access to the rstprod project click here:
RDHPCS AIM Web Portal
Send mail to Restricted Data Helpdesk.