NCAR Graphics is a Fortran and C based software package for scientific visualization. It consists of routines for drawing contours, maps, vectors, streamlines, weather maps, surfaces, histograms, X/Y plots, annotations, and more. It is provided by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

NCL is a programming language designed specifically for the access, analysis, and visualization of data. NCL can be run in interactive mode, where each line is interpreted as it is entered at your workstation, or it can be run in batch mode as an interpreter of complete scripts. NCL is available for free in binary format for several UNIX systems.

View a gallery of visualizations created with NCL to see what can be done with NCL.

NCL is a product from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.


Machines and Versions

See LC graphics software page.




No settings are required to use NCAR or NCL. Simply run the binaries in /usr/local/bin and you'll be good to go. To use an older or non-default version of NCAR/NCL, refer to the versioned binaries, e.g., /usr/local/bin/ncar-pgi-6.0.0. You may also use dotkit, e.g. use ncar-ncl-6.1.0 to automatically get the right version of your favorite NCL commands. Note that NCL is only included in the packages with "ncl" in their names.


For information on using NCL, refer to the NCL Home Page.

Use the


command to view example NCL programs. Refer to the


man page for more information.


An NCL e-mail list is available.

Additional documentation is available at the NCL Documentation page.

NCL Application Examples are available at the NCL Applications Examples page.

Help is available from the, (925) 422-4531.

The following man pages are available as part of the various dotkits (i.e., if you first type e.g. use ncar-gcc):

man ncargintro—NCAR Graphics overview

man ncargf77—Command for compiling Fortran code that uses the NCAR Graphics low-level utilities

man ncargcc—Command for compiling C code that uses the NCAR Graphics low-level utilities

man ncargex—NCAR Graphics Fortran and C Low-Level Utility Examples

man ctrans—A Computer Graphics Metafile ( CGM ) translator

man ncgm2cgm—Filter NCAR CGM to/from vanilla CGM


To download NCL to your local workstation, refer to the NCL Download page.