Upper air analysis have many uses. Each map displays different aspects of the weather situation. The 300 mb map defines the jet stream position. The 500 mb map illustrates the positions of and shortwaves, which help produce cloudiness and precipitation. The 850 mb map can be used to indicate where temperature and moisture advection are occuring.
Soundings illustrate the change in temperature, dewpoint, and winds in a column through the atmosphere. Wind profilers show the same column of winds changing through time.
|Satellite observations display existing cloud conditions. The visible picture gives a "camera shot" from space during the day. The infrared measures temperatures of the cloud tops (useful during the day or night). Water vapor shows the percentage of water vapor existing through the atmosphere.|
|Surface maps display various surface parameters such as pressure, temperature, and dewpoint temperature. Lows, highs, and fronts are drawn on some maps to indicate varying surface conditions. These can be used to track areas of low pressure (usually producing cloudiness and precipitation) and high pressure (usually clearer weather).|
Surface progs are manually drawn maps based on computer model data. These maps show the position of fronts and probable areas of precipitation 12 and 24 hours from the initial time.
Computer models use current weather conditions to project how conditions willchange in the coming hours and days. The model output must be interpreted, since few normal surface features are drawn on the maps. These are computer projections and not always correct. These are good to use for a guide but adaptations must be made.
Revised: 9 Jan 1998
Send comments and suggestions to:
Doug Yarger (email@example.com) or Pete Boysen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright © 1996, Iowa State University, All Rights reserved