Skip to main content

California Environment Information Sources

General Introductions

    • Climate of California (Elford) 1970 (print copy available in Docs C55.221:4) Narrative includes a summary of the topographic features of California, effect of topography and general circulation on climate, various weather parameters, growing season, floods, and climate and the economy. The print version includes maps and data tables. Prepared as part of theClimatology of the States series published by the Environmental Science Service Administration.
    • "California Floods and Droughts" (Hunrichs) pp 197-206 IN National Water Summary 1988-89: Hydrologic Events and Floods and Droughts (Paulson) 1991 (print copy available in Docs I 19.13:2375) Brief introduction to major floods and droughts in California
    • California's Many Climates (Felton) 1965 (QC 984 C2 F4) Contains 25 regional profiles of California's weather and climate written for the layperson.
    • Introduction to Air in California (Carle) 2006 (TD 883.145 C2 C37 2006) (California Natural History Guides # 87) Covers air and wind from many perspectives, including physics, chemistry, weather, ecology, pollution, health, energy and stewardship. Includes brief descriptions of all the air quality basins in California.
    • Weather of Southern California (Bailey) 1975 (QC 984 C2 B3 1975) (California Natural History Guides #17) Discusses the climatic regions of California, the effects of weather patterns of the problems of fire, flood, drought, and smog. Includes data on temperature and precipitation for selected sites. First printing of this book was titled Climate of Southern California.

    Data Compilations

    • Annual Precipitation for California Since 1600 Reconstructed from Western North America Tree Rings (Fritts and Goodom) 1980 (Cal Doc W750 P614) Uses tree ring data to construct a statewide precipitation index for California from 1600 to 1961 in relation to a statewide mean line of 23.82 inches derived from climatic records for 1901-1963.
    • California Weather (Goodridge) 2000 (QC 925.1 U8 C243 2000) CD-ROM containing weather and related data from 1848-2000 extracted from federal and state sources. Files are in Microsoft Excel format. Data covers dew point; evaporation; pressure; rainfall depth duration and frequency; monthly rainfall; runoff; solar radiation; historic rainstorms; monthly temperature; sea level; soil temperature; tree ring data; length of day; and upwelling. Goodridge is a former California State Climatologist.
    • Climate Data and Information for California (California State Climatologist) Links to monthly and annual climate summaries for general climate patterns, precipitation, temperature, runoff, weather extremes and rainfall depth/duration/frequency. Information may be expressed in narrative, chart, map or data format.
    • California Climate Data Archive (CalClim) (California Climate Change Center and Western Regional Climate Center) Links to regularly updated data, forecast information and charts available from California weather and climate networks. Includes charts of comparative station data and daily updated climate anomaly maps. The California Climate Tracker charts current departures from normal and will generate charts and maps of climate variability over time.
    • California Data Exchange Center (CDEC) (California Department of Water Resources) Operates a hydrologic data collection network within California and maintains an extensive database of hydrometeorological information submitted by over 140 state, federal and other cooperating agencies, including the National Weather Service, US Geological Survey, US Bureau of Reclamation, US Army Corps of Engineers and Pacific Gas and Electric. Currently there are over 800 operational recording stations in California. The database contains both real-time and historical operational hydrologic data on river stages/flow, river forecasts, reservoir conditions, precipitation, snow depth and water content, temperature, wind direction and speed, and fuel moisture. Use the CDEC Stations Search or the CDEC Station Locator to locate stations by geographic location or type of data collected.
    • California Irrigation Management Information System (California Department of Water Resources Office of Water Use Efficiency) Network of automated weather stations, 125 of which are active and 61 inactive, that have been established to assist California irrigators manage water resources efficiently. Data is available on an hourly, daily or monthy basis. Data collected includes solar radiation, air temperature, soil temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction and precipitation. Data calculated includes net radiation, reference evapotranspiration, wind rose, wind cubed, vapor pressure, and dew point temperature.
    • California Nevada River Forecast Center (US National Weather Service) Includes precipation data grouped by drainage area for periods covering the past 1, 2, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours; river stage/flow for the past 5 hours, river flood outlook, and other related data.
    • California Sunshine-Solar Radiation Data (California Department of Water Resources) 1978 (Cal Doc W 750 B9 #187) (DWR Bulletin #187) Summarizes solar intensity data for 150 California solar measurement stations.
    • California Surface Wind Climatology (California Air Resources Board) 1984 (Cal Doc A 1165 W553) Contains surface wind summaries for speed and direction by season for 176 stations in California; wind diagrams for 47 stations by month and time of day; and generalized charts showing predominant wind patterns over California.
    • California Weather Data (University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program) Contains current and past weather data for approximately 400 weather stations throughout California. Daily values are available for all stations, and in addition, stations in the PestCast weather networks supply hourly or sub-hourly data. 
      Historical climate data for many stations extends back to 1951. Long-term (30-year) averages are available for all climate stations.
    • California Wind Atlas (California Energy Commission) 1985 (Cal Doc E 2015 W55) Includes mean monthly wind speeds for stations in California.
    • COOP Data / Record of Climatological Observations (U.S. National Climatic Data Center) Includes daily temperature extremes andprecipitation, along with snow data at some locations for sites which are a part of the NWS cooperative observing network. See also the NNDC Climate Data Online database for other options for accessing and formatting the data.
    • Daily Station Normals, 1971-2000: California (U.S. National Climatic Data Center) (Climatography of the United States #84) Includes daily normal maximum, minimum, and mean temperature (degrees F), heating and cooling degree days (base 65 degrees F), and precipitation (inches) for selected cooperative and First-Order stations in California. Monthly, seasonal, and annual normals are also presented. Monthly and annual precipitation probabilities and quintiles are also included.  Data is available for each station in ASCII or html format.
    • Direct Normal Solar Radiation Data Manual: Long-term Monthly Mean, Daily Totals for 235 National Weather Service Stations (Knapp and Stoffel) 1982 (SERI/SP 281-1658) (Docs E 1.28:SERI/SP 281-1658) Includes monthly and annual insolation estimates various locations in California.
    • Climatological Data: California (U.S. National Weather Service) Monthly with annual summary (online: 1891 to the present; print: 1950-1997 in Docs C 55.214/6) Contains daily temperature and precipitation data. Stations are grouped by drainage basin, e.g., North Coast. See also the NNDC Climate Data Online database for other options for accessing and formatting the data.
    • Engineering Weather Data (U.S. National Climatic Data Center and U.S. Air Force Combat Climatology Center) 2000 (Docs C 55.281/2-2 En 3 CD) CD-ROM weather database that emphasizes data needed for building design and construction for heating and cooling systems. Design values, medians, and extremes of dry and wet bulb temperature are included as well as various humidity parameters. Other weather summaries presented in tabular and graphical form include binned temperature data, degree days, solar radiation, and wind roses. . Engineering Weather Data (Kjelgaard) 2001 (Ref TH 7015 K54 2001) contains similar data for fewer stations.
    • Hourly Precipitation Data: California (U.S. National Weather Service) Monthly with annual cumulations (online 1951 to the present; print copies for 1978 to 1996 available in Docs C 55.216/4) Contains hourly precipitation amounts obtained from recording rain gages located at National Weather Service, Federal Aviation Administration, and cooperative observer stations. For selected stations includes maximum precipitation for nine time periods from 15 minutes to 24 hours. See also the NNDC Climate Data Online database for other options for accessing and formatting the data.
    • Local Climatological Data: California (U.S. National Climatic Data Center) Includes hourly and daily information on temperature, precipitation, degree days, wind, sunshine and sky cover for approximately 120 stations in California.
    • Maximum Daily Precipitation by Months (Goodridge) 1980 (Cal Doc W765 P73) Contains maximum daily rainfall records for 1,100 California stations.
    • Monthly Historical Rain Data (California State Climatologist) Includes annual and monthly precipitation from the earliest period of record to 2001 for approximately 4900 California recording stations. Earliest records extend back to 1849. Data is in Excel format. Arranged by drainage basin and then by hydrographic unit. Updates California Rainfall Summary; Monthly Total Precipitation, 1849-1980 (Goodridge) 1981 (Cal Doc W 765 R34 1980) which is a microfiche set of monthly and annual records.
    • Monthly Historical Temperature Data (California State Climatologist) Includes annual and monthly average temperature from the earliest period of record to 2004 for approximately 400 California recording stations. Earliers records extend back to 1849. Data is in Excel format. Arranged by drainage basin and then by hydrographic unit.
    • Monthly Station Climate Summaries, 1971-2000: California (U.S. National Climatic Data Center) 2004 (Climatography of the United States #20) Contains 257 California station summaries that includes temperature, precipitation, snow, freeze and degree day data that is useful for agriculture, industry and engineering applications
    • Monthly Station Normals of Temperature, Precipitation and Heating and Cooling Degree Days 1971-2000: California (U.S. National Climatic Data Center) 2002 (Climatography of the United States #81) Includes normals of average monthly and annual maximum, minimum, and mean temperature (degrees F), monthly and annual total precipitation (inches), and heating and cooling degree days (base 65 degrees F) for individual locations for the 1971-2000 period. Also available as an ASCII file.
    • Moored NOAA and CDIP Buoys, and NOAA Wave Watch III Data (Scripps Research Institute) Contains links to real time and historical offshore buoy data from the National Data Buoy Center, Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP) . Includes data on wind, wave, atmospheric pressure, air temperature, and water temperature. Updated every 10 minutes.
    • NNDC Climate Data Online (U.S. National Climatic Data Center) Database of recent and historical global climate data that includes daily and monthly temperature and precipitation data for most stations; and hourly and 15' precipitation for selective stations. The dates of available data vary from station to station and on the type of data. Stations vary in their period of record. The user interface allows one to select by country, state, county and station. Results of a query are posted to a custom web page in an html format for online viewing and an ASCII comma deliminted format for spreadsheet or database use. For additional information see NOAA National Data Center Climate Online For Use in Research, Applications and Education.
    • Physical Data and Statistics of California. Tables and Memoranda Relating to Rainfall, Temperature, Winds, Evaporation, and Other Atmospheric Phenomena; Drainage Areas and Basins, Flows of Streams, Descriptions and Flows of Artesian Wells, and Other Factors of Water Supply; Mountain, Valley, Desert, and Swamp-land Areas, Topography of Stream Channels, Elevations Above the Sea, and Other Topographical Features(Hall) 1886 (QC 984 C2 A7 Case) Contains statistics compiled by the State Engineering Department of California from the earliest period of record to 1884 . Organized in seven parts. Part 1 contains monthly, annual and average mean rainfall and snow records for individual stations grouped by county. Part 2 contains monthly maximum, minimum and mean temperature and direction of prevailing wind for individual stations grouped by county. Part 3 contains meteorological obervations for six signal (lighthouse) stations in California. Part 4 includes records of evaporation observatrions from Kern and Tulare Counties. Part 5 gives drainage areas of rivers and basins. Part 6 contains mean, maximum and minimum monthly discharge and total discharge of rivers in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. Part 7 gives characteristics of artesian wells.
    • Rainfall Depth-Duration-Frequency For California (Goodridge) 1981 (Cal Doc W 765 R36) Contains summarized data for 1,500 California stations.
    • SNOTEL Data Collection Network: California (US Natural Resources Conservation Service) SNOTEL (for SNOwpack TELemetry) is an automated network that collects snowpack and related climatic data (precipitation, temperature and soil moisture/temperature data) in the Western United States that is used to produce produce water supply forecasts.
    • Water Data Library (California Department of Water Resources) Contains current and historical hydrologic data collected by the California Department of Water Resources and cooperating agencies and previously made available in several print series. California precipitation data was first collected in 1849, stream gage data in 1878, and the measurement of groundwater levels in the early 1900's. Index to Sources of Hydrologic Data contains a comprehensive list of hydrologic data stations. The data complements hydrologic data available from the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Weather Service/National Climatic Data Center. The data library contains time series hydrologic data in three areas:
      Surface water data - 300 surface water flow and stage monitoring sites
      Water quality data - 1,500 water quality monitoring sites
      Groundwater level data - groundwater level data and hydrographs for more than 35,000 wells
    • Western U.S. Climate Historical SummariesNorthern CaliforniaSouthern California (Western Regional Climate Center) Contains monthly and daily temperature and precipitation normals for multiyear periods for 351 stations in California.

    Guides and Bibliographies

    • California Climate Change Portal (State of California) Includes policy and research documents generated by state agencies and links to other climate change resources.
    • California Climate Information Sources (Golden Gate Weather Services) Contains links to sources of information on current weather and historical climate.
    • California Hydrometeorological Networks (NCAR Earth Observing Laboratory) Directory of national, state and local meteorological and hydrological networks that cover California.
    • California State Information: Data from California (US National Weather Service) Links to current weather information and forecasts for California and local sites, fire weather, river status and forecasts, and local climatic data for the most recent month.
    • California Statewide Water Conditions (California Department of Water Resources) Links to frequently updated reports and charts that provide an overview of hydrologic conditions, precipitation, snowpack, river runoff, river forecasts, and reservoir storage.
    • Climatological Stations in California: Indexed by County (California Department of Water Resources) 1971 (print copy in Cal Docs W750 B9 #165) (DWR Bulletin # 165) Lists by county 6,352 current and historical weather stations giving location, elevation, years of record and agency holding record.
    • Research Bibliography (California Climate Change Center) Searchable database of climate change publications on California.

    Reviews and Assessments

    CA - Weather and Climate Maps

    California Precipitation Map

    • Average Annual Precipitation in California (US Geological Survey) Similar maps show shaded relief and water and shaded relief.
    • Average Annual Precipitation (Inches), California, 1961-1990 (Oregon Climate Service) 1995
    • Average Temperature for January/July (
    • California Annual Precipitation (US Natural Resources Conservation Service) 1999 (map G4361.C883 1998 .U5 ) Scale 1:1,850,000
    • California Average Annual Precipitation (
    • California Building Climate Zones Map (California Energy Commission) Shows 16 climate zones that are based on energy use, temperature, weather and other factors.
    • California Reference Evapo Transpiration (ETO) Zones (California Irrigation Management Information System) Shows 16 reference ETO zones.
    • California Regional Weather Server (San Francisco State University. Department of Geosciences) Weather maps and satellite images emphasizing California, the western U.S., and North America.
    • California Wind Atlas (California Energy Commission and California Department of Water Resources) 1985 (Cal Docs E 2015 W55) Available wind data is summarized using charts, maps, and graphs.
    • California Wind Resource Maps (California Energy Commission)
    • Climate Change: Maps of Heat Vulnerability in California (California Department of Public Health) 2007. Series of maps showing California populations that are vulnerable to heat.
    • Late Pleistocene Map of California (US Geological Survey) Reconstruction of landscape features about 18,000 years ago at the peak of the last Ice Age, including mountains covered by glaciers, intermontain basin lakes and exposed shoreline.
    • Per Capita Urban Water Use: 1960-2005 (Public Policy Institute of California) Interactive map presents estimates of urban water use (in gallons per person per day) for California's major hydrologic regions. Each region includes a summary of population and per capita water use for selected years since 1960.
    • Precipitation (California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection, Fire and Resource Assessment Program) Isohyetal map of California at a scale of 1:1,000,000 showing mean annual precipitation during the period 1900-1960. Created from the map Mean Annual Precipitation in the California Region (Rantz) 1969/reprinted 1972 (Docs I 19.2 P92 1972).
    • Precipitation Frequency Atlas of the Western United States. Vol. 11. California (US National Weather Service) 1973 (Docs C 55.22 folio) Contains series of precipitation-frequency maps at a scale of 1:2 million for 6 and 24-hour durations for return periods from 2 to 100 years. Northern California and Southern California sectional maps are also available at Western U.S. Preciptation Frequency Maps (Western Regional Climate Center)
    • Precipitation Data (U.S. National Weather Service. California-Nevada River Forecast Center) Real-time maps of precipitation during the most recent 1-hour, 6-hour, and 24-hour periods. A complementary Rainfall Maps site is maintained by the California Department of Water Resources.
    • Thousand-Year Rainstorms in California 1850-1998 (DuBay) Plots the location of 46 "thousand-year" California rainstorms based upon James Goodridge's Historic Rainstorms in California.
    • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map: South-West US (USDA Agricultural Research Service) 1990 (print copy available in Docs A 1:38:1475) (USDA Miscellaneous Publication # 1475) Shows the lowest temperatures that can be expected each year. Each of the 11 zones represent 10 degree F (5.6 degree C) differences in average annual minimum temperature.