CloudSat and CALIPSO plotting tool

Getting Started


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

Supported Operating Systems

ccplot works on unix-like operating systems (Linux, macOS, …) and Windows. For best experience, it is recommended to install ccplot on Linux.

Linux & Unix-like OS other than macOS

The following programs and libraries are required:

To install the required libraries and ccplot:

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

    # ccplot >= 1.5
    sudo 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
    sudo apt-get install python python-dev python-numpy python-matplotlib python-mpltoolkits.basemap

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

  2. Build and install ccplot:

    tar xzf ccplot-x.y.z.tar.gz
    cd ccplot-x.y.z
    sudo python install

You should now be able to run ccplot in the terminal:

ccplot -V


To install ccplot on Windows:

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

    Note: Anaconda 64-bit or Python 3 will not work.

  2. Install the basemap package in the Anaconda Prompt (you can find the Anaconda Prompt in the Start Menu):

     conda install basemap
  3. Install ccplot using the supplied Windows installer (ccplot-x.y.z.win32-py2.7.exe).

You should now be able to run ccplot in the Anaconda Prompt:

ccplot -V


  1. Install Anaconda 64-bit (Python 2.7 version).

  2. Install MacPorts.

  3. Install required MacPorts packages. In the macOS Terminal:

     sudo port install hdf4 hdfeos
  4. Build and install ccplot:

    tar xzf ccplot-x.y.z.tar.gz
    cd ccplot-x.y.z
    python install

You should now be able to run ccplot in the macOS Terminal:

ccplot -V

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.