2.2. GDAS Prepbufr Data


Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS) prepbufr files contain a variety of upper-air and surface weather observations from around the globe, including radiosonde, profiler and US radar derived winds, land and marine surface reports, aircraft reports, and more.

NOAA/NCEI: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/model-data/model-datasets/global-data-assimilation-system-gdas

Note: GDAS prepbufr data is also available via other sources (e.g., NOMADS, NOAA HPSS, and NCAR/Research Data Archive); however, NOAA/NCEI does not require an account and provides a long archive period.

Recommended use

GDAS prepbufr data are commonly used for verification of standard meteorological variables, such as temperatures, dew point temperature, wind speed, visibility, and precipitation, and precipitation type.

File format


Location of data


Access restrictions


Spatial resolution, grid, or coverage

Point observations with locations spanning the globe

Temporal resolution

Files are provided daily (but contain data from 4/day model runs)

Starting and/or ending dates

13 Feb. 2012 - Present

Data latency

~1 week

For a near-realtime archive (but shorter retention period, see: https://nomads.ncep.noaa.gov/pub/data/nccf/com/gfs/prod)

Variables available

Temperature, sea surface temperature, wind, geopotential height, visibility, and moisture

METplus Use Cases

Link to METplus Use Cases for this dataset.



Current Dataset: VxDataGDASPREP


Data Labels: DataTypePoint, DataLevelSurface, DataLevelUpperAir, DataProviderNOAA, DataApplicationShortRange, DataApplicationMediumRange