Your Guide to Wisconsin Weather
and Climate Data
A primary responsibility
of the Wisconsin State Climatology Office is to provide information
concerning weather, climate, environment and natural resources to the
citizens, governmental agencies and industries of the state of Wisconsin.
is the highest temperature ever recorded in Madison?
What is the snowiest month in Green Bay?
How many thunderstorms typically hit La Crosse in a summer?
These questions may be similar to those that you may have asked
yourself about the weather and climate of Wisconsin. But where would you
begin to find the answers to these questions? This page is intended
to help guide you in finding the source of climate data most appropriate
to your question.
In starting your search for
climate information, you should be aware that most of the available
climatic data from around the state is obtained either from several
stations that make hourly weather observations or from a network that
consists of nearly 200 stations that make observations on a once-daily
The first set of stations are
typically operated at major airports by the National Weather Service (NWS)
or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The hourly
observations are more detailed than the other network, containing
information not only on temperature and precipitation, but also on winds,
atmospheric humidity, barometric pressure and cloud cover.
The other data network, called
the Cooperative Observer Network, is more dense and collects the more basic
weather data, to include daily maximum and minimum temperatures, 24-hour
precipitation totals, snowfall and snow cover. A more detailed
of the instrumentation and the types of Cooperative Observer Stations
across Southern Wisconsin is available from the Milwaukee/Sullivan NWS
weather observation networks are also found in Wisconsin.
National Weather Service Offices
If you need recent daily weather data for the
major stations in Wisconsin operated by the National Weather Service,
consult the “Preliminary Local Climatological Data” appearing on the
climate pages of each of the National Weather Service
Offices. Each office maintains monthly tabulations of daily
temperature extremes, precipitation and wind data for the current
month. Archives of data tables are also available for
previous months spanning the last several years. However, the data
appearing in these tables are considered preliminary and thus
unofficial. They are not intended for use where
certified records are required, such as in litigation.
The Wisconsin State
The State Climatology
Office (SCO) is one of the entry points in your search. The
office acquires, archives and disseminates weather and climate data
from Wisconsin’s first order stations
and from the cooperative observer network commencing in the late 19th
century. Many of these records are paper copies.
Requests (phone, email or fax) can be made to this office
for copies of these records. A processing charge
may be applied to orders. Some of the information
has been put into electronic format that is made available on a limited
basis through email or the web. Use the index on our
locate some of the climate products appearing on this SCO
website. A list
of weather stations by county is also available.
While the SCO is the
official state archive of weather records across Wisconsin, the National Climatic Data Center is the official federal
archive and final authority of the original records.
Short initial inquiries for data or staff assistance staff are free. More substantial efforts are covered by our Service Charge statement.
Whenever you use climate
data from this office, please cite all data with a statement such as:
The Midwestern Regional Climate Center
The Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) operates cli-MATE: the MRCC's Application Tools Environment that is a free, online data access tool. Once you register with cli-MATE, this menu-driven system provides ready access on a near real-time basis to a variety of temperature, precipitation and degree day products ranging from daily values to monthly, or long-term averages. More elaborate climate statistics are also available for specific stations, climate divisions or even statewide averages. Additional information is available in the cli-MATE Product Guide.
MRCC also offers a variety of services such advice from experts or certified climate data for a fee, according to a published fee schedule.
The National Climatic Data Center
National Climatic Data
Center (NCDC) in Asheville, NC is the official Federal
repository of all climatic data, including historical data sets,
normals, extremes and other statistics. Having
undergone quality control procedures, the published certified data in
their collection are considered official data and admissible in courts.
For additional information concerning
certified climate records, see
Information Summary C-1 "Weather Records in Private Litigation".
(This document is in pdf format and requires
Adobe Acrobat Reader..)
NCDC publishes a variety
of climatological data in monthly printed periodical format that are available
for subscription. These periodicals include:
CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA for selected city – A monthly summary of the daily
summaries of temperature, humidity, wind speed and other significant
weather data for a selected set of locations, including
Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and La Crosse. An annual issue is
DATA for Wisconsin -- A monthly summary of the daily maximum and
minimum temperatures, precipitation and snow for both the first order
stations and the cooperative network. An annual issue is also
PRECIPITATION DATA for Wisconsin -- A monthly summary of the hourly
precipitation amounts obtained for a selected set of recording rain
gauges. Nine time periods are included, ranging from 15 minutes
to 24 hours.
DATA -- A monthly summary of the reported severe weather events across
the country. Events that are reports would include tornadoes,
thunderstorm winds, lightning, hail, heavy snow, ice storms and
and a price list are available from
Some data can be obtained
online from NCDC. Access of NCDC data by most users
usually incurs costs. See
NOAA Web data
If you need sunrise
and sunset information, the US Naval Observatory has an interactive
web site that allows you to
generate the times of sunrise sunset, moonrise, moonset, and twilight
information for any location and date.
If you need to obtain specific information on counties, civil townships, villages and cities in Wisconsin, check the highly detailed county maps that are produced by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and available on an interactive
web site that allows you to
obtain the 72 county maps for Wisconsin in pdf format.