Sunday, June 08, 2014

Meteorological information...

Despite the weather being nice, there is little flying happening at the moment. Unfortunately we have a number of aircraft out of service for maintenance which is slowing things down.

What I have done is taken a bit of a look around at various sources of weather information that could be useful for pilots or even just plain interesting. Note that some of these sites share a common information source [usually Metservice], but they still present information in different ways which can be helpful. Also, I don't claim to be a weather geek, so don't take any of these links as an assurance of validity, reliability or usefulness!

This is a long post, but do take a skim read and let me know what you think!

The first one is perhaps my new-found favourite [Thanks Jamie!]. Earth information is based on forecast data, sometimes several days in advance [some of it is updated 3 hourly though], so it might not be the best if you're trying to work out what is actually happening. On the plus side, Earth is highly visual and interactive and allows you to incorporate different data sources on various map projections. Nice. This is well worth a go! Click here for Earth.

Next up is Victoria University of Wellington's MetVUW site. As you'd expect from a university, it's a lot more technical, so perhaps not as useful unless you take the time to learn and understand what the information is and how it is presented. What I particularly like is the longer range forecast information. Click here for MetVUW.

Third is the Meteorological Service of New Zealand's [Metservice] public website. This contains the usual range of public forecasts, including Towns and Cities, Rural, Marine & Surf, Mountains & Parks along with radar images. As the official public weather geeks for New Zealand, you'd expect this information to be pretty good, and it is. Click here for Metservice.

Next is a specialised Metservice site for aviation, Metflight. This is a source of official aviation forecasts. Unfortunately it is behind a paywall, but if you are a pilot or organisation paying for access there's a wealth of information from Metservice, tailored to the aviation environment. Click here for Metflight.

Another source of information is Weather Underground. Weather Underground provide forecasts and reports from around the world including New Zealand. I particularly like the simple way that information is presented on maps and that you can overlay many types of data onto a single map. Click here for Weather Underground.

Second-last we have Weatherzone. Weatherzone appear to base their data on Metservice, so it should be pretty good. I like the rain radar maps which are clearer than some that I've seen. Click here for Weatherzone.

Last up is my favourite tool for assessing the current state of the weather. It's an often underused tool [particularly by those who rely too much on technology]. It's great for working out the situation right now, and with a bit of practice, can be useful in forecasting what is likely to occur of the next few hours. This great tool is called get off your butt, go take a look outside :-). Now if you're looking for a "click here for..." link, you might have missed the point...!

Well, that's it from me. Do you have a favourite weather site? Perhaps you'd like to share it with the rest of us? Leave a comment against the post to share with the rest of us! If there's enough interest, I may even put up another weather-related post.

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