Informalex -- Web Sources of Weather Information
|This information was provided in course materials at a "Meterology and Snow Science Applied to Avalanche Forecasting" course. Courtesy of Simon Walker and Laura Adams; Selkirk Geospatial Research Center. Updated Dec. 2000.||>>back to informalex.org|
Maps of Model Output
1. COLA (Centre for Ocean, Land, and Atmosphere) - ETA model (0 to 2 days), and MRF model (0 to 6 days); also hemispheric plots of MRF output, and 31 day animation of hemispheric MRF at 500 mb – past 15 days, and 15 days into the future. This site also has a good key to help interpret their maps: click on the link for “Key to the Maps”.
2. NCEP Operational ETA Model – 12 km grid - ETA model (0 to 2 days) from NCEP. The operational Eta-12 is run four times per day (00,06,12,18Z). The 00/12Z cycles run to 60-h, the 06/18Z cycles run to 48-h. Simple graphics make these maps fast to load, and the increased number of runs per day provide access to the most current initialization based on observations. “Eastern Pacific” graphics provide best view of B.C.
3. AVN Model Seal Level Pressure, Thickness, 6 hour Precipitation - 72 hour output from the AVN model, animated in 6 hour steps, from Ohio State University.
4. Edwards Air Force Base – displays of AVN, MRF models - Look for the animation of MRF precipitation field, similar to the Ohio State pages.
5. Environment Canada Charts - Global (to 144 hrs) and Regional (to 48 hrs) model output from Canadian Meteorological Centre; black and white, harder to interpret, but fast to load. Choose either Analyses or Forecasts.
6. FNMOC (U. S. Navy) - East Pacific view is recommended; NOGAPS (to 144 hrs), GFS (to 144 hrs) are available; generally up to date with the latest model run. GFS is the Global Forecast System, combining the MRF and AVN models. Good animations.
7. Mesoscale MM5 model from University of Washington - MM5 is now initialized twice daily using 2 different sets of initial conditions: one from the ETA model (MM5 Eta) and one from the GFS model (MM5 GFS). The GFS initialization is run in 3 nested domains, with grid spacing at 36, 12, and 4 km. The ETA initialization is run in 2 domains, with 36 and 12 km grid spacing. The 36 km domain covers most of Western North America and the Eastern Pacific, while the 12 km domain covers Southern BC and the Northwestern States. The 4 km domain only covers the very southernmost part of BC, Washington State and Northern Idaho.
This model is particularly good for the timing of precipitation events; pick a loop of 3 hour precipitation.
You need to pick the initialization, the domain, the particular forecast product, then the time or an animation (“loop”). The model is now run out to 72 hrs, with output displayed in 3 hour time steps.
8. US Naval Research Lab: Satellite images with model output overlays - Most useful is the Infrared image with 500 mb heights overlaid.
9. San Francisco State: Composite Wx maps - IR Sat images with surface or 500 mb obs and AVN model analyses overlaid
10. Unisys analyses and forecast maps – Various models. Longer Range - Output from ETA, AVN, MRF (out to 10 days), and ECMWF (6 days) models (other models available, but RUC is for United States only, NGM is an antique). One of the few sites that offers ECMWF (European Centre for Medium Range Wx Forecasting).
American version of the tephigram; good for evaluating atmospheric stability, thermal and moisture profile.
11. Wyoming Weather Web - Map based interface, pick either Skew-T or Stuve plot.
12. Ohio State University - Pick from a map of upper air stations – for some reason, Kelowna (YLW) is on the US Map, other relevant sites on the Canadian map.
13. Canadian Synopsis / Model Comparison - Forecast discussion from Environment Canada, includes excellent commentary on validity of various models. Pick “Non-US Weather”, then “Primary Discussion” under ‘Canada’.
14. Northwest Avalanche Centre - Excellent avalanche related forecast for the Coast Range and North Cascades. Applies to more of BC during a southwesterly flow – good upstream information.
15. Northwestern States forecast discussions from National Weather Service - The Western Washington and Northeastern Washington / Northern Idaho discussions are good for southern BC, and contain good synoptic descriptions, particularly during periods of southwesterly flow.
Satellite Images – Stills
16. University of Washington; always up to date, and fast to load - Especially useful for the early AM briefing: 12Z IR image with analyzed fronts overlayed. The last selection on UW’s satellite imagery menu (scroll down through the above site to find it).
17. Alaskan Imagery – Polar Orbiters and GOES
Animated Satellite Imagery
18. US Naval Research Lab. Java animations.
19. San Francisco State University - Smaller images, faster to load. Colour enhanced IR images at:
Same format, visible images for daytime viewing at: http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/gwvis2sml.html
20. From NOAA via. University of Washington - Lists for most WMO reporting sites, many updates. At the top of the Local Weather Data section, pick current obs and hit the Go! button. If the desired obs are missing, just go back to the previous hour’s observations. Station names need decoding.
For decoding station names: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/tg/siteloc.shtml
(need to get all station names in Canada in plain text, then find the code)
21. Intellicast.com - only valid immediately adjacent to the 49th parallel. Even then, there are some problems induced by long range from the radar site. (This page also displays data from the Spokane radar site.)
22. Model Output Statistics (MOS) based forecasts - From Texas A & M University. These forecasts are straight model output, with a bias towards climatological normals. They are based on grid interpolations from the nearest grid points in the model domain, and mountainous terrain is not well resolved. Useful in “data sparse” areas. Also provides access to current obs. You need to know the 3-letter station identifier for the closest weather reporting site. To find the station identifier, use http://www.nws.noaa.gov/tg/siteloc.shtml
Other sources, Miscellaneous Weather Information, Links
23. UBC Atmospheric Science Program - This site is also a good source of weather maps, in the “Daily Downloads” section. For ‘made in Canada’ mesoscale model output, check out the MC2 and NMS models under “NWP Models” (high resolution with detailed terrain map underlying)
24. University of Washington Atmospheric Science - Excellent source for a variety of information
Aviation Weather Sites
25. Aviation Digital Data Server (ADDS) - Great site for flight planning; use your mouse to draw a flight path on the map, and ADDS delivers a cross section of the atmosphere along the path.
26. Environment Canada’s Graphical Aviation Forecasts - Maps with weather depiction overlayed (winds, clouds and wx, freezing levels, icing, turbulence). Quick to load, wx at a glance.
Meteorological Training and Reference Sites
27. Sam Barricklow’s Index of web based training materials
28. Meted Program at UCAR - high level material, for the scientifically inclined.
29. NOAA from Louisville Kentucky - Good material on winter precip forecasting, and winter processes in the atmosphere.
30. Ingredients based approach to forecasting winter precip – Suzanne Wetzel
31. Scott Bachmeier’s Winter Satellite Interpretation course.
32. University of Illinois - Good introductory material
33. Chuck’s Home Page - Chuck Doswell from the National Severe Storms Lab in Oklahoma. An entertaining writer on scientific aspects of meteorology without too much math or physics. Check out his essays under “Writings”.
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