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ATS/ESS 452: Synoptic Meteorology

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1 ATS/ESS 452: Synoptic Meteorology
METAR The Station Model

2 What is a METAR? Acronym for METeorological Aviation Report
Generated at least once an hour (usually right prior to the end) or when a significant change in weather occurs Composed of two parts: Body and Remarks Information contained within is added in a specific order and format

3 Example KHSV Z 22010KT 3SM -RA BR OVC010 09/08 A2969 RMK AO2 RAB01E11B45 CIG 007V012 SLP053 P0000 T Information ALWAYS given includes: Station ID Date/Time Wind Speed/Direction Visibility Current Observed Weather Sky conditions Temperature/Dewpoint Altimeter Reading (Pressure) Any information given after RMK are referred to as remarks, and this information can vary

4 Web Resources Station ID Look-up: Federal Meteorological Handbook Chapter on METAR:

5 Station ID Example = KABC
4 character identifier for reporting stations The first letter identifies the country. All US stations begin with ‘K’, Canadian stations begin with ‘C’ Next 3 characters identify the station. KJAN is Jackson, MS for example

6 Date/Time Example = 121553Z Given in Greenwich Mean Time, or Zulu
First two numbers are the day of the month. Single dates are reported with a 0 Next 4 numbers are the time.

7 Report Modifier Example = AUTO 3 possibilities: None, AUTO and COR
AUTO means the observation was taken without human interaction or oversight COR indicates a correction to a previous report If nothing, then a human took the observation

8 Wind Direction and Speed
Example = 21016G24KT 180V240 First three numbers denote the direction given in degrees. The next two numbers are speed in knots In this example, the G indicates that a gust occurred. The second group, 180V240, indicates a wind shift occurred or it is variable Calm winds are reported as 00000KT

9 Wind Direction/Speed Examples
27005KT indicates a wind that is blowing from 270 degrees (i.e. from the west) at a speed of 5 knots 16018G35KT indicates a wind that is blowing from 160 degrees (i.e. from the south-southeast) at a speed of 18 knots with gusts to 35 knots.

10 Visibility Example = 1SM ‘SM’ is Statute Miles
10SM would indicate a visibility of 10 statute miles 2 1/2SM would indicate a visibility of 2.5 statute miles M at the beginning would mean less than the reported number M1/4SM indicates a visibility of less than 0.25 statute miles

11 Runway Visual Range Example = R11/P6000FT
The first number indicates the runway Range is given, after the slash, in feet

12 Present Weather Example = -RA BR
The weather occurring at, or in the vicinity of, the observation point at the time of reporting There are 5 categories, constructed in sequences, to consider: Intensity, Descriptor, Precipitation, Obscuration, Other Weather

13 Present Weather - Intensity
Example = -RA BR Intensity: -, +, VC - = Light (.10”/hour or .01” in 6 minutes) + = Heavy (.30”/hour or .03” in 6 minutes) VC = in the vicinity of station Moderate precip has no symbol

14 Present Weather - Descriptors
MI = Shallow PR = Partial BC = Patches DR = Low Drifting BL = Blowing TS = Thunderstorm FZ = Freezing SH = Shower

15 Present Weather - Precipitation
Example = -RA BR DZ = Drizzle RA = Rain SN = Snow SG = Snow Grains IC = Ice Crystals PE = Ice Pellets GR = Hail GS = Small Hail/Snow Pellets UP = Unknown Precip

16 Present Weather - Obscurations
Example = -RA BR BR = Mist FG = Fog FU = Smoke VA = Volcanic Ash SA = Sand HZ = Haze PY = Spray DU = Widespread Dust

17 Present Weather - Other
SQ = Squalls FC = Funnel Cloud, Tornado or Waterspout SS = Sandstorm DS = Duststorm

18 Present Weather Examples
-TSRA indicates a thunderstorm with light rain. -RA FG indicates light rain and fog.

19 Sky Conditions Example = SCT060
First three letters represent the amount the sky is covered Next three numbers are the height of the cloud base in hundreds of feet Up to 3 cloud layers may be reported to a height of 12,000 feet

20 Sky Conditions Cont. FEW indicates 1/8 to 2/8 sky coverage. SCT indicates 3/8 to 4/8 sky coverage. BKN indicates 5/8 to 7/8 sky coverage. OVC indicates 8/8 sky coverage. CLR indicates clear conditions

21 Sky Conditions Example
SCT060 indicates 3/8 to 4/8 sky (scattered) coverage by a layer of clouds at 6000 feet above the surface. BKN039 OVC100 indicates 5/8 to 7/8 (broken) sky coverage at 3900 feet and 8/8 (overcast) sky coverage at 10,000 feet.

22 Temperature/Dewpoint
Example = 06/04 Temperature is given first, followed by the dewpoint. Both are rounded to the nearest whole Celsius degree Negative readings are coded with a ‘M.’ Example, 01/M01 is temp = 1C, dew = -1C

23 Altimeter Example = A2990 Always coded with an ‘A’
Given in inches of mercury It is the barometric pressure of the location if it were at sea level A2990 = inches of mercury

24 The Remarks Section Added only when appropriate
Up to 26 different items can be reported in this section ‘RMK’ indicates the beginning of the Remarks section

25 Example Remarks TORNADO B13 6 NE PK WND 20032/25
Means a tornado began 13 minutes after the hour and was located 6 miles northeast of the station PK WND 20032/25 Indicates the strongest (peak) wind since the last observation Direction (200), speed of gust (32 knots) and time of gust (25)

26 Example Remarks Precip Start/Stop Times RAB07
Coded with type of precip, followed by a B for began or E for ended Last numbers indicate minute of the hour the precip began/end May be coded together (RAB07E24)  indicates rain began at 7 after and ended at 24 after the hour

27 Example Remarks Sea Level Pressure SLP125 Given in millibars
SLP stands for sea-level pressure, followed by the last three digits of the reading A decimal point is placed between the last two digits Rule of thumb: If the number is less than 500, place a 10 in front. If more than 500, place a 9 in front SLP125  mb SLP955  mb

28 Example Remarks Hourly Precip Amount 6-Hour Precip 24-Hour Precip
Given in hundredths of an inch. Amount recorded since the last observation Trace of precip is reported as P0000 6-Hour Precip Similarly to hourly, but 60009 24-Hour Precip Coded with a 7 in front  70009 Reported at 12Z, amount recorded in last 24 hours

29 Example Remarks Precise Temp/Dewpoint T00640036
Exact temperature and dewpoint reading to the tenth of a degree Begins with a T followed by two 4 digits groups, the first is temp and the second is dewpoint The first digit is always the sign; if 0, then the reading is positive, if 1, then it is negative In the example, the exact temp = 6.4 degrees C and dewpoint = 3.6 degrees C

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