NCL unit

NCAR Command Language

The NCAR Command Language (NCL) is a visualization software package frequently used in atmospheric and ocean science. It bases on C++. There are various templates that can be modified. Many of them are specifically designed for plotting WRF, CESM, satellite data.

Goals and outcomes

After successful completion of this unit students will be able to

  • Modify existing NCL templates for their own research and to visualize data of various formats
  • Write their own NCL scripts to visualize data
  • Process data in NCL

Student tasks

  1. Watch the following videos
    General Information


    Reading and writing data

    Data handling and Metadata

    Built-in functions


  2. Download this quick NCL_graphics_manual
  3. Download this template and modify it to plot this dataset
  4. Find a NCL template and modify it to plot this netCDF data
  5. Download and read this manual on Data Processing in NCL
  6. Develop a NCL program to plot a dataset of your own choice. Note this script can be something that you have to plot for your research
  7. Submit your work as one pdf file named your_name_unit_ncl.pdf by Thursday 2359 AKST of the last week of this unit block to

Additional resources

A full description of ncl can be found at the link.

Mini NCL_manual

Getting started
Reference Manual
Graphic Resources
Application examples
Data for application examples
Contributions by scientists
Gallery of example templates

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