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Result of a query for hours on which the temperature exceeded 90°F at DFW Airport in May 1982. (Click to enlarge)



Argon is an economical USB external hard drive loaded with billions of key weather records for North America going back to the 1930s. It's designed for businesses and universities that need the complete North American weather record on demand. Using the power of mySQL, you can run statistical analyses, find extremes, averages, and frequencies, and export queries in METAR and spreadsheet form. All data has been unified into a common format and is searchable by latitude/longitude, WMO, ICAO, FAA, and WBAN identifier. This ensures maximum compatibility for your projects. And Argon is economical -- obtaining all of this data from the National Climatic Data Center would involve tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of processing time. We've spent months doing the processing for you.

What Argon can do for you

With only one single query, here are just some of the things you can do:
* Find the date/time of the highest 700 mb wind speed ever recorded at Minneapolis
* See the average temperature for September 1985 in Pocatello, Idaho
* Show all instances of winds above 60 mph at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
* Determine the number of hours the visibility was below 2 miles at DFW International Airport in 1990-2018
* View the dates and times that the mercury was below 0°F in 1982 at Cleveland
* Show all observations between 42N 100W and 44N 95W at 0400 UTC on July 8, 1996
* Show all temperature highs and lows for October 12, 2004

Installing and using Argon

We've already installed Argon on a hard drive for you. If you're not an expert with computers, the most that you'll have to do is install MySQL to your computer, which is free and is provided with Argon, and start it up. We've written easy-to-follow instructions. For performing queries, you have three options:

* Use the text "command line", which is free and provided with MySQL. It does require a little bit of knowledge on how SQL queries are formed, but we provide numerous examples in the manual to get you started.

* Use Argon Navigator. We released Argon Navigator as an optional, free, easy-to-use Windows application that will query Argon for you. No SQL knowledge is required. If you need a listing of all the observations where the dewpoint exceeded 70 degrees at KLAX, for example, there's no easier way to do it. You may download Argon Navigator here (V1.0, 769 KB). There is no installation; just save it anywhere and run it.

* Use a MySQL graphical front end. There are free ones as well as robust commercial ones. The front end will construct all the SQL under-the-hood, letting you build queries in an easy manner. Some are simple, others are complicated. A partial listing of suggestions can be found in the MySQL Wikipedia article. We do not recommend any specific one.

Types of weather elements available

Provided here is a summary of the data in ARGON:

* Daily climatological summary - Year, month, day, hour, latitude and longitude (to nearest hundredth), WBAN (5-digit), WMO code (5-digit), ident (3-letter), daily maximum and minimum temperature, average sky cover, fastest wind speed, daily precipitation, snowfall, and snow depth. Quality control flags are included. Our data includes all first-order stations.

* Surface hourly data - Year, month, day, hour, latitude and longitude (to nearest hundredth), WBAN (5-digit), WMO code (5-digit), FAA identifier (3-letter), ICAO identifier (4-letter), elevation, time correction (minutes), data source code, sky cover, ceiling, amount and height of up to 6 cloud layers, visibility, weather type, additional weather codes, obstruction to visibility type, severe weather type, temperature, dewpoint, wind direction, wind speed, wind gust, altimeter setting, sea level pressure, and station pressure.

* Upper level data - Year, month, day, hour, latitude and longitude (to nearest hundredth), WBAN (5-digit), WMO code (5-digit), ident (3-letter), level (mb), geopotential height, temperature, dewpoint, wind direction, and wind speed. Due to space restrictions only mandatory-level data is provided.


Database sizes are as follows, last checked in May 2019:

Data type           Records         Table size        
Surface 1.1 billion 147 GB
Upper air 376 million 19 GB
Daily data 25.8 million 2.4 GB

Station counts

Typical station count for various years is as follows. Coverage is only for North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico).
Year       Unique
1930 1 0
1940 49 0
1950 270 0
1960 430 124
1970 180 138
1980 1210 136
1990 1340 123
2000 1820 104
2010 2470 121
Current 2590 122


All data originates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and has been reprocessed into a unified format. Sources include TD3200, TD3280, TD3505, FSL's RAOB database, NOAAPORT archives, and various NCDC, UCAR, and Air Force digital records.

Period of coverage

Data begins in 1930 and begins to fully cover the United States by 1950. The ending date is that of the date you place your order, which gives you a fully updated database. This takes several days of processing time to create your customized ARGON set, but if you want to have it ship right away, let us know and we will instead send the latest version we have in stock.


A computer with a USB port is required. We use USB3 drives, which are backward-compatible with all USB2 connections. MySQL Server for Windows (free) and easy-to-follow instructions are provided. You are not required to use the external hard drive. You can easily copy the database package to any other hard drive you have for faster or more convenient viewing. This is actually recommended for better performance. We provide basic instructions on how to point MySQL at your new destination.


There are no restrictions on what you do with Argon output, including resale of output or maps. However the actual database files and tables are copyrighted and uniquely watermarked. Our main concern is unauthorized cloning and reselling of the Argon system, not the output data. We support the work of third-party add-ons or front-end tools.

Manual and documentation

A thorough description of Argon can be found here:
    • argon.pdf (PDF, 3.4 MB, revised May 2019)

Example dataset

Contained here is a subset of the Argon surface database provided free of charge for testing purposes. This is all data for January 20, 1982. Several formats are available for download. All of them were created using mySQL's built-in mysqldump tool.
    • - CSV, comma-delimited format. Useful for Excel.
    • - SQL format. Executing this will construct a table under mySQL.
    • - XML format. Useful for PHP and other programming applications.
    • - original raw database. This can be copied into a mySQL table subdirectory.

Lifetime updates option

Lifetime Updates are provided as a low-cost optional add-on. This gives you access to downloadable patches which will update your ARGON hard drive with the newest data. Updates are currently every six months in January and July or on request if you allow about a week. Lifetime updates are only provided for as long as we maintain the ARGON product.

Important notes

We want you to be pleased with Argon. So before ordering, please note the following . . .
* Queries may take a long time to perform, due to the ultra-large size of the database. ARGON provides a "surfaceshort" table that uses only the most important weather fields and allows much faster queries. If you have SQL experience you are encouraged to optimize the database to suit your own needs.
* This database covers only the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Alaska and Hawaii are included.
* Regardless of how ARGON is illustrated or described (which you may see in older material) please be aware that starting in 2017 and continuing through 2024 and onward, Argon has been shipping on 500 GB external USB drives, typically a UnionSine portable drive (similar to a Toshiba Canvio drive).

For further information

If you have questions about the Argon system, please contact us.


Please allow about a week for us to provision your Argon system. You can also request an off-the-shelf ARGON system that is not updated for immediate shipment.



IN STOCK -- Allow 1 week

Database on a portable hard drive

Lifetime Updates



Subscription service to keep Argon updated

NOTE: Orders outside the U.S. may be refused at our discretion. Please inquire first. Bank wire transfers will always be accepted. Although losses outside the U.S. are rare, they do occur and are outside of our control. It is our policy to require the customer cover the postage cost of any reshipment of a lost order outside the U.S.