CloudSat and CALIPSO plotting tool

Getting Started


Release DateDownload
18 October 2015 ccplot 1.5.2 (Linux & Mac OS X)
18 October 2015 ccplot-1.5.2.win32-py2.7 (Windows)
Release Notes | Show All


ccplot works on unix-like operating systems and Windows. It has been tested on Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, Windows Vista and Windows 8.1. For the best experience, it is recommended to install ccplot on Linux.

The following programs and libraries are required:


  1. Install Anaconda 32-bit (Python 2.7 version)

  2. Install the basemap package in the Windows Command Prompt:

    conda install basemap

  3. Install ccplot using the supplied Windows installer.

You should be able to run ccplot in the Command Prompt:

ccplot -V

Linux & Unix

  1. Make sure you have all dependencies installed. On Debian and Ubuntu, you can install dependencies with:

    # ccplot < 1.5
    apt-get install python python-dev python-numpy python-matplotlib python-mpltoolkits.basemap
    # ccplot >= 1.5
    apt-get install --no-install-recommends cython libhdf4-dev libhdfeos-dev python-imaging python-numpy python-matplotlib python-mpltoolkits.basemap ttf-bitstream-vera

    ccplot < 1.5: PyNIO needs to be installed independently (see instructions below).

  2. Build and install ccplot:

    tar xzf ccplot-1.5-rc8.tar.gz
    cd ccplot-1.5-rc8
    python build
    sudo python install

You should be able to run ccplot from the terminal:

ccplot -V

Mac OS X

  1. Install Xcode (or, alternatively OSX GCC).

    Note: You will need to create an Apple developer account in order to be able to download Xcode.

  2. Install MacPorts.

    Set MacPorts python27 as the default python:

     sudo port select --set python python27
  3. Install additional packages from MacPorts:

     sudo port install hdf4 hdfeos py27-cython py27-numpy py27-matplotlib py27-matplotlib-basemap
  4. Build and install ccplot:

    tar xzf ccplot-1.5.1.tar.gz
    cd ccplot-1.5.1
    python build
    sudo python install

You should be able to run ccplot from the terminal:

ccplot -V

Note: Some python installations require the python bin directory to be added to the PATH environment variable. If you can’t run ccplot from the terminal, append the following line to .bash_profile in your home directory:

export PATH="$PATH:/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/bin"

Installing PyNIO

ccplot < 1.5

PyNIO can be downloaded upon free registration from EOS. However, to make your life easier, you can also download PyNIO precompiled binaries without registration from this website (recommended). If you need to build PyNIO from source, follow the instructions on the PyNIO website.

To install PyNIO from a binary distribution on Ubuntu/Debian, do:

# Substitute the right name of the binary archive and Python version.

mkdir pynio
tar -C pynio -xzf PyNIO-1.4.0.linux-debian-x86_64-gcc432-py265-numpy141-nodap.tar.gz

sudo cp -r pynio/lib/python2.6/site-packages/* /usr/local/lib/python2.6/dist-packages/

On other systems:

# Substitute the right name of the binary archive.

tar -C /usr/local -xzf PyNIO-1.4.0.linux-debian-x86_64-gcc432-py265-numpy141-nodap.tar.gz

Test installation (optional):

python -c "import Nio; print Nio.__version__"
--> 1.4.0

Your Experience

If you have any difficulty with the installation, or if you find a bug, please write to the mailing list at or submit an issue on GitHub.


Please continue with ccplot manual (Chapter 6) in Visualising Data from CloudSat and CALIPSO Satellites and ccplot man page.


ccplot is provided under the terms of a BSD license, allowing you to redistribute, modify and use the software in free and commercial products without restrictions.

Known Issues

10 October 2015

A bug in matplotlib 1.4.3 causes a warning to be printed:

matplotlib/ FutureWarning: elementwise comparison failed; returning scalar instead, but in the future will perform elementwise comparison

It should be fixed in matplotlib 1.5.0 (issue #5209).

4 June 2013

There is a bug with python-dap which causes a warning to be printed:

/usr/lib/pymodules/python2.7/mpl_toolkits/ UserWarning: Module dap was already imported from None, but /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages is being added to sys.path

Package python-dap is installed on Ubuntu and Debian as “recommended” by python-mpltoolkits.basemap. It can be removed (as it is not required), and the warning will not appear any more.

The bug has already been reported to the Debian bug reporting system.

12 June 2013

ccplot < 1.5 There is a bug in NetCDF compatibility layer of libhdf4 (used by PyNIO) which causes wrong size of datasets to be reported. As a result, the data may be trimmed by a relatively small amount of rays at the end of a granule. The bug has been confirmed by the HDF Group, and is being solved.

16 June 2013

ccplot <= 1.4.6 There was a serious bug in the visualization of CALIPSO profiles, whereby the altitude of data points was shifted by one element, resulting in a difference of as much as 300m relative to their true location. The difference in the highest-resolution regions was 60m.