Monday, May 16, 2011

How to read a surface chart, Part 2, AOI weakens slighly

The AOI has became less organized, though the EPAC remains tropcial active. Environmental conditions are gradually becoming more favorable for development.

How to read a surface chart, p2

The first surface charts were created in the middle 18th century from information from reporting stations. Through much of weather forecasting history most of the tools used to predict the weather come from each of these stations. It is only in recent years that satellite imagery, radar and other high-tech tools have supplanted the station report as the most valuable tool in forecasting. Today, through the internet, the National Weather Service also takes in data from thousands of civilian weather stations, connected to home computers around the globe. There are more than Surface Chart examply of a Station Model650 civilian reporting stations in Los Angeles alone. This large number of data points are obviously not plotted on the weather charts we see here, but add to the amount of data and understanding of weather anomalies and future forecasting techniques.
Therefore, it is arguably said, that the station model is the most important weather feature on a surface chart, as almost all other features are drawn from its data. The station model is in fact, jam packed with lots of information in a tiny little space. Unfortunately, to conserve space on the map one needs to write in code. Station models are coded to express almost all weather phenomenon. From the station model ascertain weather closer to you and if you are a sailor, predict the best course to plot for the wind and seas.
Station models are also probably the most prolific of all features on the surface chart as well. Looking like so many tiny golf course flags scattered haphazardly across the map, most are airports and military installations with calibrated instrumentation. Some reporting stations are ships as the example above shows. This is most likely the US Coast Guard Cutter running interdiction off the coast of Baja. There is also a seemingly endless number of symbols applied to Station Models and we will cover the most significant. There are so many different symbols that in my research I did not find one site that defined all of them. (here are some of the best examples found... Station Model Symbols01 Surface Model Symbols02 and Station Model Symbols03)
Your browser does not support inline frames or is currently configured not to display inline frames. The graphic left shows a majority of the information provided in a standard Station Model. Click in the descriptive titles to learn more about each of the weather characteristics encoded in a Station Report.
There is additional data that can be included in the Station Model, but these are the most common and most useful to those using surface charts to predict the weather in their area.
The first frame shows a semi-complete Station Report. By clicking on Layers 1 and two you can view the definitions of each of the code locations.
If you want to test your understanding of Station Reports and Surface Charts click here to see the World Detail Surface Chart for today (3mb PDF)

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