AWIPS Tips: NUCAPS Soundings

AWIPS Tips

Welcome back to AWIPS Tips! Today we are going to explore NUCAPS soundings and how to visualize, analyze, and edit them. NUCAPS (NOAA Unique Combined Atmospheric Processing System) temperature and dewpoint vertical profiles are available from polar orbiting satellites under the Upper Air > NUCAPS Soundings menu option in CAVE. These soundings are based off of satellite observations and are not dependent on any model.

NUCAPS Points
NUCAPS sounding locations

Above is a NUCAPS pass over central CONUS. Each point has a colored quality flag based off the sky conditions:

NUCAPS Quality Flags
NUCAPS Quality Flags

As long as NUCAPS is in “Editable” status (center mouse click over the product legend), you can select a point, and a temperature and dewpoint profile will open in a new NSHARP Editor Tab with a few calculated thermodynamics variables.

NUCAPS in NSHARP Editor Tab
Click to enlarge

Because these vertical profiles are derived from satellites, lower levels of the atmosphere may not be sampled as well or be slightly off due to clouds or precipitation (the yellow and red quality flags). NSHARP allows you to edit points to get a more accurate sounding. By selecting EditGraph(off) in the toolbar, the points on the sounding will become editable.

You can use surface METARs as a guide to help you edit the sounding. As you edit points, the thermodynamic variables will update as well.

If you want to start over or reset the profiles to their original state, just select Reset.

NUCAPS in NSHARP Editor Tab
Click to enlarge

Check back in two weeks for the next blog post, detailing how to create colorized model plots using python-awips.

To view archived blogs, visit the AWIPS Tips blog tag, and get notified of the latest updates from the AWIPS team by signing up for the AWIPS mailing list. Questions or suggestions for the team on future topics? Let us know at support-awips@unidata.ucar.edu

This blog was posted in reference to v18.2.1-3 of NSF Unidata AWIPS

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