The weather is one of the most-often-discussed topics by friends, family and strangers. It's a common bond we share with just about everyone. The weather affects important decisions, plans and even what you wear on a given day. Awareness of what type of weather map combines all weather conditions will keep you in the know.
What type of map combines all weather conditions?
The surface weather analysis map or chart is the oldest map, dating as far back in history as the early 1800s, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. This map is very useful in determining fronts and pressure fields and does so by the representation of solid lines called isobars. It is called synoptic because it contains a variety of weather at one time.
What information is contained in the surface weather analysis map?
Many maps or charts that display weather contain limited data such as a map of air temperature or other single weather element. Surface weather analysis maps are useful because they are a composite chart of several concurrent weather elements at once. Some of these weather elements include wind data, air pressure, air temperature and dewpoint temperature. The surface weather analysis map may also contain an overlay of the current radar and satellite images for further information.
Surface weather analysis map coding
A combination weather map could easily become confusing and hard to interpret without the use of standards and uniformity in the plotting system. Agreeing upon standards allows everyone the opportunity for a detailed analysis. Reporting stations are noted as a solid circle. Surrounding each station on the map are the plotted points of weather data, also known as a station model.
What can you see on a surface weather analysis map?
There is a lot to be discerned from a surface weather analysis map. The U.S. maps note temperatures of the air and dewpoint in degrees Fahrenheit, rounded to the nearest whole number at the standard height of five feet above ground. The temperatures are noted in the upper left of the station model circle. Wind is measured 30 feet above ground and noted with the use of various arrows. Sea level corrected air pressure is noted to the upper right of the station model in millibars. Weather codes and precipitation intensity codes are noted on the weather analysis map as well as cloud or sky cover. Isobars indicate analysis of the weather fronts and pressure fields.
What can you learn from a surface weather analysis map?
With this multirepresentational map, you can discern large-scale patterns and features. Using several days' worth of maps, a comparison can be made to judge the movement of weather systems over time and predict future weather from this pattern. When a radar image is superimposed over the map, areas of precipitation can be seen along with the intensities.