Educational resources

Forecast Center

My weather forecasting column Forecast Center (formerly You Be The Forecaster) has appeared in every issue of Weatherwise magazine since 2001. For access to complete courtesy copies of all older articles, click here.

Chase cases!

YOU are put in the storm chaser's decision chair. You'll either get a bust day, a marginally interesting day, or a historically significant day anytime between the 1970s and 1990s. Will you succeed?

Station identifier resources

I've organized all the resources an operational meteorologist needs for keeping up with identifier listings.

Links to resources

This is a list of websites and resources that I have recommended or used over the past 10 years. Some links may be stagnant or extinct, so use with caution. Have something to add? No problem! E-mail me at this contact form, include the URL, and indicate that this is for my educational page. In general due to issues with spammer websites, we will not add a link unless in our view it is sufficiently established or reputable.

(Limited updates were done in January 2012 to remove spammy .com links and fix some of the .gov and .com links; work is still ongoing.)
Assorted forecasting links
  • Joseph Bartlo's articles -- (local link) are an excellent resource for the budding forecaster. His site went down several years ago and my understanding is that he passed away in 2006; these articles are provided for educational use only and to honor his contributions to forecast education.
  • University of Wisconsin -- has an interesting summary of weather analysis principles.
  • AWIPS -- all about the computer system the National Weather Service uses to analyze weather and produce forecasts.
  • Chuck Doswell's writings -- they're a must for anyone learning to analyze and are written in a bold, no-nonsense style. Don't miss his personal website which covers more some of the more controversial and personal topics he has to share.
  • UCAR Weather Page -- it's my favorite site for weather analysis. All kinds of products are here that will help you quickly compose a forecast.
  • Albany raw data -- it's a good place to start if you want raw observations and raw data. Also try Florida State University and UCSD.
  • IWIN -- is the place to go if you want pre-prepared forecasts. Be sure to look at their forecast discussions for each state to see a technical overview of the weather. Don't know how to read them? Check out my forecast discussion primer.
Discussion groups, forums, and newsgroups
Decoding raw data
  • Office for the Federal Coordinator of Meteorology -- this agency sets all guidelines for U.S. weather observations and practices. Especially noteworthy is the FMH #1 which tells you all you ever wanted to know about U.S. METAR observations.
  • NWS Communications and Codes -- the NWS Telecommunications Gateway is responsible for processing all kinds of weather data, so they have to know the ins and outs. You'll find some interesting resources on their page.
Forecasting techniques
Convective/tropical forecasting
  • WSR-88D Radar Coverage -- Jian Zhang's excellent maps of geographic coverage vs. range and beam blockage for the NEXRAD radar network.
Publications & Journals
  • AMS Journals -- Get all the American Meteorological Society journals (those newer than a few years ago require a subscription). This is a fantastic public service provided by the AMS and Allen Press which truly exemplifies the spirit of scientific information exchange.
Amateur & professional meteorologists

EMWIN is a great datastream, but if you have serious cash on you, NOAAPORT is the way to go.
REALTIME DATA: General Pages
Note that the individual files are usually listed by hour in a format like YYMMDDHH where YY=year, MM=month, DD=day, and HH=hour.
REALTIME DATA: Plots and analyses
Of course nothing beats the capabilities of Digital Atmosphere, but if you're in a bind and need an alternate source, these sites will do nicely.
REALTIME DATA: Historical/archive

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