Conventional Weather Reports

Data From Weather Reporting Stations

Weather Map with Color 
 Contours Weather stations around the world report atmospheric temperature, pressure, winds, cloud cover, visibility, special weather conditions, and other observations. These data are collected on a regular basis and made available from the National Weather Service (NWS ) via the Domestic Data Service (DDS) which is part of the NWS Family of Services(FOS). Through a subcontract with Alden Electronics, the the FOS data streams are disseminated to universities via the Unidata IDD. Many universities have configured their Unidata systems to generate weather maps automatically as the data comes into their systems. For example, the University of Illinois produces hourly maps showing temperature, wind speed and other parameters throughout the country in the form of color contours on a map background. These maps can be found on their Daily Planet WWW server.

Weather Maps for Meteorologists

Weather Map with Station Plots Plymouth State College uses the same data to create the kind of hourly weather maps that meteorologists and pilots are accustomed to using. These maps contain more information from the reporting stations along with data from radar stations. In this one, the weather reports from ground observing stations are shown in what meteorologists refer to as station model plots. The plots show information about temperature, pressure, dew point, cloud cover, wind speed and direction, and special weather conditions at each reporting station. Contour lines represent the atmospheric pressure in another form. The map also has the locations of high and low pressure areas and fronts which are introduced into the Domestic Data Service by the NWS. These maps are similar to those found in many daily newspapers.

International Weather Reports

Weather Map Showing
  Temperatures in Asia This map generated at the University of Michigan shows that weather reports from around the world are delivered on a regular basis by the Unidata IDD. In particular, the data used to generate this map are part of the International Data Service (IDS) which, along with the DDS, is part of the Weather Service Family of Services(FOS). All FOS data products are injected into the IDD at Alden Electronics.

Upper Air Observations

Contour Map
  of Upper Air Data As this map from Purdue University shows, observations of conditions in the upper atmosphere are available in addition to surface weather measurements. In this case, a contouring routine from the Purdue WXP software package was used to display the height at which the atmospheric pressure is 500 millibars. These upper air data measurements are taken by balloon-borne instruments on a regular basis and are transmitted as part of the DDS and IDS product streams on the Family of Services.
Thermodynamic Diagram
  of Upper Air Data Using a different analysis program called a thermodynamic diagram, atmospheric scientists can view the upper air data as a function of height in the atmosphere above one observing station. This "Skew T" thermodynamic diagram shows the conditions measured in the atmosphere above Lincoln, IL.