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NCL Workshops

NCL workshops are tailored to students and researchers in climate sciences who are interested in learning how to use NCL to analyze their data.

The workshops at NCAR in Boulder workshops are free for all EPSCoR/MSI students, with a modest registration fee for everyone else. We have some funds available to help EPSCoR/MSI students with travel costs. See details below.

For 2018, we will be restructuring the lectures to make them more interactive. You can see a sample schedule of the new workshop, which will have more interactive sessions interspersed during the lectures, giving students a chance to try things they just learned.

Before registering, see this list of prerequisites to make sure the workshop will be useful for you.

Interested in hosting an NCL workshop? If so, visit this page for more information.

NCL and the workshops are both sponsored by NSF.

Upcoming NCL workshops

June 5-8, 2018
Corporate Technical Training Center, NCAR
3085 Center Green Drive, Building CG-2, Room #3024
Boulder, Colorado
Registration will open sometime after February 2018.

Travel support provided for qualified students in the United States

NCAR/CISL offers travel support for eligible students and faculty members from EPSCoR states and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) in the United States to attend the NCL workshops. Travel support may be used cover designated hotel airfare and hotel. Past attendees of NCL workshops are not eligible.

We have reached the limit for the number of students we can fund for the February 2018 workshop. We might have more funds for the June 2018 workshop, but we won't open the registration until after the February workshop.

Past workshops

List of past NCL workshops at NCAR, universities, and research sites world-wide.

Articles on workshops

First NCL worshop presented in Chinese
November 24, 2014

NCL Students Become NCL Teachers in Brazil and Germany
February 12, 2014

NCL Training Reaches Out to Universities
April 2, 2012


  • The workshops offer a combination of introductory lectures and hands-on labs. During the labs, the instructors work with students to help them write NCL programs for analyzing their own data.

  • Lecture topics:
    • Overview of NCL
    • Overview of NetCDF and other data formats
    • NCL language basics
    • File input/output
    • Data analysis
    • Graphics
    • NCL website tour

  • Workshops are generally 3.5 days, with the first three days being lectures in the morning and hands-on labs in the afternoon. The fourth day is an optional morning lab.

  • NCAR workshops in Boulder are free for EPSCoR/MSI students, with a modest registration fee for everyone else. They're usually held at the Corporate Technical Training Center (CTTC) at the Center Green Campus in Boulder. This center provides a computer for every attendee. Space is limited to 16 students.

  • We may also be available to teach workshops at your site, if time and budget permits and there is an appropriate teaching lab available (projector for presentations, and LINUX/UNIX computers running NCL for the students). If you are interested in having us teach a workshop at your site, please visit this page for more information.


In order to attend an NCL workshop, students must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Have a basic knowledge of basic UNIX command line operations, for example:
    • listing the directory contents
    • moving and/or copying files from one directory to another
    • editing programs or scripts using a UNIX editor
    • executing programs or scripts from the UNIX command line
    • using ftp/sftp to upload or download files

  • Have written code using an interpreted (e.g. Python, IDL, MATLAB) or a non-interpreted (e.g. Fortran, C) computer language.

    Students who don't have knowledge of basic UNIX commands or at least one computer language will likely find the NCL workshop too advanced.

Useful links for participants

Information for out-of-town visitors

The NCL workshops in Boulder are held at:

Corporate Technical Training Center (CTTC)
Center Green Campus, Building CG-2, Room #3024
3085 Center Green Drive
Boulder, Colorado 80301
United States

For more information about the CTTC and the Center Green Campus:


If you have registered for the February 2018 workshop and need a hotel, visit our February workshop page for information.


The closest airport to Boulder is Denver International Airport (DIA), which is about a 45-minute drive.

The first day of the workshop starts at 9:00 AM, so we recommend flying in the day before. The fourth (last) day of the workshop is an optional lab which only goes until 12:00 PM. You can choose to skip the lab and fly out that morning, or you can schedule your flight back for later that afternoon.

There are various transportation options for getting to and from the airport, and around Boulder. It takes about an hour to get to DIA from the CTTC.