NCL Workshops

NCL workshops are tailored to students and researchers in the earth sciences who are interested in learning how to use NCL to analyze their data. The Boulder workshops are free to all students.

See this sample NCL workshop schedule and list of prerequisites to see if the workshops will be useful for you.

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

Upcoming NCL workshops

October 11-13, 2016
Hamburg, Germany

Registration being handled internally

Travel funds provided for qualified U.S. university students

NCAR/CISL offers travel funds for eligible students and faculty members from EPSCoR states and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) in the United States to attend the NCL workshops. Travel funds are limited to $1200 per student and can be used to cover airfare, lodging, and/or per diem. Past attendees of NCL workshops are not eligible.

We have reached the limit for the number of students we can fund in 2016. Please check back in September 2016 for next year's workshops.

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 are taught by both a scientist and a software engineer, and 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.

  • Local workshops are free. 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 email Mary Haley.


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

  • Have a basic knowledge of UNIX (MacOSX, Linux, or X/Cygwin), like how to list the directory contents, how to move files from one directory to another, the concept of running programs, how to edit files, how to use ftp/sftp, etc.

  • Know how to edit files using UNIX editors like vi, emacs, or nedit.

  • 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 UNIX 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
3085 Center Green Drive
Boulder, Colorado 80301
United States

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


The closest hotel to the CTTC is the Residence Inn by Marriott, which is within a 5 minute walking distance. Most other hotels are within a 10-15 minute driving range.

For more information, see "Boulder hotel information and maps".


The closest airport is Denver International Airport (DIA).

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.