ERDDAP Data Server

PolarWatch maintains an ERDDAP server with a large collection of environmental datasets which provides the backbone for our data catalog.  Many of datasets available through PolarWatch are are drawn from the extensive NOAA Environmental Research Division ERDDAP. Access the data server directly or learn more about it through the following links.

ERDDAP makes it easy to access data - ERDDAP is a data server that gives you a simple, consistent way to download data in the format and the spatial and temporal coverage that you want.

Humans and machines can use ERDDAP - ERDDAP is a web application with an interface for people to use. It is also a RESTful web service that allows data access directly from any computer program (e.g. Matlab, R, or webpages).

Make customized maps and graphs - Use ERRDAP to generate .png and .pdf files on-the-fly from gridded and tabular scientific datasets and insert them directly into webpages.

Search for datasets - ERDDAP’s search capabilities allow full text searches of the metadata or searches by metadata categories, such as keywords, standard name, and data type.

PolarWatch ERDDAP Data Pyramid

The ERDDAP data server provides a simple, consistent way to download subsets of gridded and tabular scientific datasets in common file formats and make graphs and maps. The PolarWatch data catalog extends the capabilities of ERDDAP with a customized search and filter page, data previews on polar maps and a simplified data download interface. Learn more about using the powerful features of ERDDAP through the resources in this section.


The URL specifies your data request

Your query is sent to ERDDAP in a specially formed URL containing dataset of interest, a description of how you want the data subsetted or graphed, and the file type you want returned to you.

ERDDAP or you make the URL

You may use ERDDAPs “Data Access” and “Make A Graph” tools to quickly make the URL or bypass the forms by generating the URL by hand or with a computer program or script.

The URLs take the following form


baseURL: to the gridded or tabular dataset
datasetID: unique identifier of the dataset of interest
fileType: specifies the type of data file that you want
query: specify how you want the dataset subsetted


Generate a Sea Surface Temperature Map

The following example will generate the image below of the GHRSST Global Daily 1-km Sea Surface Temperature data for the US West Coast for December 23, 2014.

Start with the baseURL for gridded datasets

The BaseURL for the PolarWatch ERDDAP server.
Add the datasetID

For GHRSST Global Daily 1-km SST the ID is “jplG1SST + jplG1SST
Add the fileType of the image file

For GHRSST Global Daily 1-km SST the ID is “jplG1SST + .png
Start the query and add the variable

Begin the query with “?”, then add the parameter of interest. “SST” in our example. + ?SST
Add specifications to the query to define the graph

Each within specification is within square brackets. For our example we need the date and the geographical bounding box.

Date Specification: Date has the format [(YYYY_MM-DDThh:mm:ss], which is [(2014-02-23T00:00:00Z)] for our example. ?SST + [(2014-02-23T00:00:00Z)]

Bounding Box Specification: The bounding box has the format [(lat min):(lat max)][(lon min):(lon max)] , which is [(32.0):(52.0)][(-135):(-115.0)] for our example. [(2014-02-23T00:00:00Z)] + [(32.0):(52.0)][(-135):(-115.0)]">
The basic URL

The basic URL below will generate the SST image pictured above. Try pasting it into a new browser window![(2015-02-23T00:00:00Z)][(32.0):(52.0)][(-135):(-115.0)]">

To view the data as an HTML table, change .png to .htmlTable[(2015-02-23T00:00:00Z)][(32.0):(52.0)][(-135):(-115.0)]

To download the data as an Matlab file, change .png to .mat[(2015-02-23T00:00:00Z)][(32.0):(52.0)][(-135):(-115.0)]
Data file types


Image file types

Extract ocean surface current data from ERDDAP

The video demonstrates how to extract ocean surface current data from ERDDAP and use them for simulated particle tracking in the NOAA GNOME model.