METAR Information

Interactive Display

The METARs page displays current surface observations. This page uses OpenLayers to provide an interactive display of data including zoom and pan and each observation can be clicked on to get more information.

Parameter Output

Here is a list of the parameters that can be displayed:

  • station model - This is a standard station model with temperature in the upper left, dewpoint in the lower left, coded altimeter setting in upper right, visibility far left, weather near left, cloud cover colored by flight category and wind barb.
  • temperature - The is temperature in F. C if metric selected
  • dewpoint - The dewpoint in F. C if metric selected
  • relative humidity - The relative humidity in %
  • altimeter - The coded altimeter setting. This is the last three digits of the setting in 0.01 inches Hg. For example 993 is 29.92 in. Hg.If metric selected, its the last three digits of the setting in 0.1 hPa. For example 112 is 1011.2 hPa (or millibars)
  • visibility - The visibility in whole miles (km if metric selected). If visibility is less than or equal to 2 miles, the tenth's digit will be shown in red.
  • ceiling - The cloud ceiling in 100s of ft (BKN, OVC, OVX only)
  • cloud cover - A cloud coverage symbol
  • winds - Wind barbs with full barb at 10 knots
  • wind speed - The speed in knots
  • wind gust - The wind gusts in knots
  • flight cat - Colored circles representing flight category: green = VFR, blue = MVFR, red = IFR, magenta = LIFR
  • weather - Weather symbol representing current weather

Each of the parameters can be displayed separately or a subset of the station model can be dislayed by selecting multiple parameters. If only the ceiling, visibility and cloud cover are needed, select those from the data selector and they'll show up in the proper position in the station model.

When the site is clicked, a dialog box appears with the latest raw METAR data displayed. If the decoded option is set, decoded data will display in place of the METAR. If the taf option is set, the latest TAF will be appended to the end of the data.

The data density setting changes the priority level of data to display. Selecting “-1” will reduce the number of stations plotted. A “+1” will roughly double the number. A “+2” will double again the number of plotted stations. Select the density appropriate to the needed plot.

Station Model Plot

Figure 1: Station Model Plot

In many cases, the data are plotted using standard symbols and plotting models. Fig. 1 shows the station model used in the METAR and TAF plots.

  • Temp - Temperature plotted in the upper left in F (C for metric setting)
  • Alt - Last three digits of the altimeter setting plotted upper right in inches Hg (hPa for metric). In this case, 966 represents 29.66 inches Hg.
  • Ceil - Ceiling height in hundreds of feet. This represents the height of the lowest broken or overcast cloud layer.
  • Id - The 4 letter ICAO identifier for the site. KRFD is Rockford, IL.
  • Windbarb - The wind barb. The stick points in the direction the winds are coming from. Each full barb represents 10 knots of wind. Each half barb represents 5 knots. Red represents wind gusts. In this case, you have winds from the SSW at 25 knots with gusts to 30 knots.
    Figure 2: Wind barbs
    If the wind direction is variable, you will see a circle around the station and a wind barb pointing north showing wind speed and gusts.
    Figure 3: Variable Wind barbs
  • Dew - The dewpoint temperature plotted in the lower left in F (C for metric setting).
  • Vis - The visibility plotted to the left of the weather symbol, in statute miles (km for metric).
  • Wx - A symbol representing present weather plotted just to the left of the cloud cover symbol.
  • Cover - The cloud cover symbol is plotted in the center. The amount the circle is filled represents the amount of cloud cover. In this case, it's overcast. The color of the circle represents the flight conditions:
      Figure 4: Flight category icon color
    • green - VFR (Visual Flight Rules)
    • blue - MVFR (Marginal Visual Flight Rules)
    • red - IFR (Instrument Flight Rules)
    • purple - LIFR (Low Instrument Flight Rules)

URL Options

Here is a list of the URL options:

  • date=yyyymmddhhnn - This selects a specific date and time to display.
  • time=hr - This selects the initial time on the time slider (def: 0).
  • timelabform={full|simple} - This selects time slider labels. Full shows -/+ hours from current. Simple shows just the time and "Forecast for" if it's a future time.
  • refresh=min - This sets the auto-refresh time interval (def: 5 min).
  • tz=tz - This sets the time zone to show in the date header. This can be "local" which is the browser time zone or "label,offset" which is the zone name and offset in hours. For example "CDT,-5". (def: UTC).
  • region=reg - This will center the map to a specific region. Options include: "conus", "us", "northeast", "ne", "southeast", "se", "northcentral", "nc", "southcentral", "sc", "northwest", "nw", "southwest", "sw", "alaska", "ak", "hawaii", "hi", "gulfmexico", "gmx", "caribbean", "car", "europe", "eur", "southamerica", "sam", "easia", "eas", "australia", "aus", "zab", "zau", "zbw", "zdc", "zdv", "zhu", "zfw", "zid", "zjx", "zkc", "zla", "zlc", "zma", "zme", "zmp", "zny", "zoa", "zob", "zse", "ztl" (def: none).
  • center=lat,lon - This will center the map at a specific latitude and longitude. The default is 39,-97.
  • zoom=level - This sets the zoom level. The default is 4. A higher number zooms in. A lower number zooms out.
  • fullmode=(screen|window) - This sets the full screen mode. "screen" sets it to full screen. "window" sets it to fill the current browser window. The default is screen.
  • fullscreen=(on|off) - This sets the display to go into full window if fullmode=window.
  • basemap=(light|dark|simple) - This selects the type of basemap. The default is light.
  • metar={on|off} - This turns the METAR layer on or off. The default is on.
  • metplot=param - This selects the display parameter. The default is model. Multiple parameters can be selected separated by commas. Options are:
    • model - station model, all on
    • temp - temperature
    • dew - dewpoint
    • rhum - relative humidity
    • alt - altimeter setting
    • vis - visibility
    • ceil - cloud ceiling
    • cover - cloud cover
    • wind - wind barb
    • wspd - wind speed
    • wgst - wind gust
    • cat - flight category
    • wx - weather symbol
    • id - station identifier
  • metdensity={-1|0|+1|+2} - The METAR data density. The greater the number the more stations will plot. The default is 0.
  • metdecoded={on|off} - Specifies to show decoded data in popup dialog box. The default is off.
  • metrawtaf={on|off} - Specifies to add TAF to popup dialog box. The default is off.
  • metscale=## - Specifies scale factor for the data icon. The default is 1.
  • sat={on|off} - This turns the satellite layer on or off. The default is off.
  • satprod={ir|vis|wv} - Specifies the type of satellite image. The default is ir.
  • satopacity=# - Specifies the satellite image opacity (0=transparent to 1=opaque). The default is .5.
  • satlabform={on|simple|off} - Specifies the satellite label format. The choices are "on" which shows type of image and time, "simple" which shows only image type and "off" which shows no label. The default is "full".
  • rad={on|off} - This turns the radar layer on or off. The default is off.
  • radprod={rala|cref} - Specifies the type of radar image: "rala" for reflectivity at lowest altitude or "cref" for composite reflectivity. The default is rala.
  • radopacity=# - Specifies the radar image opacity (0=transparent to 1=opaque). The default is .75.
  • radlabform={on|full|simple|off} - Specifies the radar label format. The choices are "on" or "full" which shows type of radar and time, "simple" which shows only radar type and "off" which shows no label. The default is "full".
  • highways={on|off} - Turns highway layer on or off. These are primarily interstates. The default is off.
  • roads={on|off} - Turns roads layer on or off. These are primarily US and state highways plus some city streets. The default is off.
  • counties={on|off} - Turns county layer on or off. The default is off.
  • jetroutes={on|off} - Turns the jetroutes layer on or off. The default is off.
  • firs={on|off} - Turns the ARTCC/FIR layer on or off. The default is off.
  • metric={on|off} - Specifies to display data in metric units. The default is off.
  • mouseformat={deg|dm|dms} - Specifies to format for the mouse location: degrees, degree/frac. minute, degree/minute/second. The default is deg.
  • level=## - Specifies value of the level in the level slider. The default is none.
  • hover={on|off} - Turns on hover for features. The popups will come up when mouse hovers. Default is off.