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Polar: System status, information, and FAQs


Polar and the fields on it is meant to be available at all times, to all people.  It is not, however, 'operational' as this term is used in our organization.  Please see the NWS Web distribution disclaimer for more about what this entails.   One feature of importance to most users is that the system does not have 24x7 support.  

For operational availability of the information which is noted as operational on http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/mmab/products.shtml , again, please see NWS Web distribution disclaimer for operational distribution channels.





FAQs


Q: I hear that polar won't be around much longer.  What is its future and its replacement?
A: A machine named polar is expected to be around for some time to come.  What hardware stands behind that name can be expected to change, as has already happened 3 times in the history of the name.

Q: If polar is having problems, is there somewhere else I can go for the information?
A: In general, no for graphical products and yes for digital products.  If the product is available operationally, then the sources mentioned in NWS Web distribution disclaimer can be used.  Many popular graphical products are not on that list at this time. Digital products are generally available by operational means; see http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/mmab/translation.shtml

Q: If that situation changes, how can I find out?
A: We maintain a mailing list through which we make announcements of changes to our products, product availability, and distribution methods.   Signing up for the mailing list is your surest method.  We will also update this notice and make note on the branch main page.

Q: Followup question -- how can I find out about planned outages, say to upgrade the hardware?
A: Same as above.  We perform our upgrades in such a way that it almost never requires the system to be unavailable to users.  When such an event is planned, we will announce it.

Q: Why is polar now refusing ftp connections to me?
A: This is never a decision of not releasing the data.  It can be, however, that your system or a firewall your system uses is refusing to identify itself.  If identity cannot be confirmed, ftp sessions to polar are not permitted.  

Q: My access to ftp://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/ has been slow lately, why and is there anything I can do about it?
A1: use the operational system ftpprd. See http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/mmab/translation.shtml
A2: Some changes in response time are unavoidable contention from Internet use to our building, or of polar itself.  Both are upgraded periodically.
A3: See also the notes on best ftp usage below.

Q: I'm using MacOSX and ftp sessions freeze almost immediately
A: turn off the epsv4 mode by issuing the epsv4 command to your client. Passive mode is required so don't turn that off, but extended passive mode does not work with polar. It does work with ftpprd.



Notes for best response

  • Open only 1 connection at a time.  Some ftp software, command line ftp from Windows 98 and XP is known to have this problem, produces failures if you attempt to open multiple connections.  Even if this isn't the case, there is finite bandwidth to polar, and by opening multiple connections you slow the transfer rate to yourself.
  • Retrieve data only after it can be expected to be updated -- see the table below for times in UTC (equivalent to GMT.  Eastern Standard Time is 5 hours earlier, Eastern Daylight Time is 4 hours earlier.  So 00 UTC is 7 PM EST and 8 PM EDT.) This will prevent a need for multiple transfers.  Please note that the availability times are approximate and delays of minutes to half an hour are not uncommon.  Delays over an hour are rare.
  • Retrieve the smallest data files that serve your needs.  If, for example, you are only interested in significant wave heights for the Western North Atlantic ocean, it is most efficient to retrieve wna.HTSGW.grb, at 2.1 Mbytes, rather than all fields for that domain, 29.4 Mb.  Only you can judge what best fills your needs.




Product Availability Time Table


Times in the table are approximate times of availability in UTC.  Eastern Standard Time is 5 hours earlier; Eastern Daylight Time is 4 hours earlier.  So 00 UTC is 7 PM EST and 8 PM EDT.


Model or Analysis Cycle
Produce Suites
00 UTC
06 UTC
12 UTC
18 UTC
Vessel Icing Model
5:10
11:10
17:10
23:10
Coastal Fog Model
5:15
XXXX
17:15
XXXX
Wave Model
5:45
11:45
17:45
23:45
Regional Ocean Model
6:00
XXXX
XXXX
XXXX
Wind Analysis
7:10
11:10
18:10
33:10*
Ocean Fog Model
7:10
XXXX
18:10
XXXX
Sea Ice Drift Model
9:45
XXXX
XXXX
XXXX
Gulf Stream Finder
10:30
XXXX
XXXX
XXXX
Sea Ice Analysis
14:50
XXXX
XXXX
XXXX
SST Analysis
22:45
XXXX
XXXX
XXXX


* The 18 UTC cycle of wind analysis is available at about 9:10 UTC on the following day.



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Last Modified 10 December 2004


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