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ead a Weather Map?
A weather map and its symbols are meant to convey a lot of weather information quickly and without using a lot of words. Just as equations are the language of mathematics, weather symbols are the language of weather, so that anyone looking at a map should be able to decipher the same exact information from it…that is, if you know how to read it. Here is an introduction to weather maps and their symbols.
Zulu, Z, and UTC Time on Weather Maps
One of the first coded pieces of data you might notice on a weather map is a 4-digit number followed by the letters “Z” or “UTC.” Usually found at the map’s top or bottom corner, this string of numbers and letters is a timestamp. It tells you when the weather map was created and also the time when the weather data in the map is valid.
Known as Zulu or Z time, this figure is included on a weather map so that all meteorological weather observations (taken at different locations and therefore, in different time zones) can be reported at the same standardized times no matter what the local time might be.
If you’re new to Z time, using a conversion chart (like the one shown above) will help you easily convert between it and your local time. If you’re in California (which is Pacific Coastal Time) and the UTC issue time is “1345Z” (or 1:45 p.m.), then you know that the map was constructed at 5:45 a.m. your time, that same day. (When reading the chart, note whether the time of year is daylight saving time or standard time and read accordingly.)
High and Low Air Pressure Centers
The large letters (Blue H’s and red L’s) on weather maps indicate high- and low-pressure centers. They mark where the air pressure is highest and lowest relative to the surrounding air and are often labeled with a three- or four-digit pressure reading in millibars.
Highs tend to bring clearing and stable weather, whereas lows encourage clouds and precipitation. So pressure centers are “x-marks-the-spot” areas to aid in determining where these two general conditions will occur.
Pressure centers are always marked on surface weather maps. They can also appear on upper air maps.
On some weather maps, you may notice lines surrounding and encircling the “highs” and “lows.” These lines are called isobars because they connect areas where the air pressure is the same (“iso-” meaning equal and “-bar” meaning pressure). The more closely the isobars are spaced together, the stronger the pressure change (pressure gradient) is over a distance. On the other hand, widely-spaced isobars indicate a more gradual change in pressure.
Isobars are found only on surface weather maps—although not every surface map has them. Be careful not to mistake isobars for the many other lines that can appear on weather maps, such as isotherms (lines of equal temperature).
Weather Fronts and Features
Weather fronts appear as different colored lines that extend outward from the pressure center. They mark the boundary where two opposite air masses meet.
- Warm fronts are indicated by curved red lines with red semicircles.
- Cold fronts are curved blue lines with blue triangles.
- Stationary fronts have alternating sections of red curves with semicircles and blue curves with triangles.
- Occluded fronts are curved purple lines with both semicircles and triangles.
Weather fronts are found only on surface weather maps.
Surface Weather Station Plots
As seen here, some surface weather maps include groupings of numbers and symbols known as weather station plots. Station plots describe the weather at a station location. They include reports of a variety of weather data at that location:
- Air temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit)
- Dewpoint temperature (degrees Fahrenheit)
- Current weather (marked as one of dozens of symbols established by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA)
- Sky cover (also as one of NOAA’s symbols)
- Atmospheric pressure (in millibars)
- Pressure tendency
- Wind direction and speed (in knots)
If a weather map has already been analyzed, you’ll find little use for the station plot data. But if you’ll be analyzing a weather map by hand, station plot data is often the only information you start off with. Having all stations plotted on a map guides you as to where high- and low-pressure systems, fronts, and the like are located, which ultimately helps you decide where to draw them in.
Weather Map Symbols for Current Weather
These symbols were established by NOAA for use in weather station plots. They tell what weather conditions are currently happening at that particular station location.
These symbols are typically only plotted if some type of precipitation is occurring or some weather event is causing reduced visibility at the time of observation.
Sky Cover Symbols
NOAA has also established sky cover symbols to use in station weather plots. In general, the percentage that the circle is filled represents the amount of sky that’s covered with clouds.
The terminology used to describe cloud coverage—”few,” “scattered,” “broken,” “overcast”—are also used in weather forecasts.
Weather Map Symbols for Clouds
Now defunct, cloud type symbols were once used in weather station plots to indicate the cloud type(s) observed at a particular station location.
Each cloud symbol is labeled with an H, M, or L for the level (high, middle, or low) where it lives in the atmosphere. The numbers 1–9 tell the priority of the cloud reported. Since there’s only room to plot one cloud per level, if more than one cloud type is seen, only the cloud with the highest number priority (9 being highest) is plotted.
Wind Direction and Wind Speed Symbols
Wind direction is indicated by the line that extends out from the station plot sky cover circle. The direction the line points is the direction from which the wind is blowing.
Wind speed is indicated by the shorter lines, called “barbs,” which extend from the longer line. Wind speed is measured in knots (1 knot = 1.15 miles per hour) and is always rounded to the nearest 5 knots. The total wind speed is determined by adding together the different sizes of barbs according to the following winds speeds that each represents:
- Half barb = 5 knots
- Long barb = 10 knots
- Pennant (flag) = 50 knots
Precipitation Areas and Symbols
Some surface maps include a radar image overlay (called a radar composite) that depicts where precipitation is falling based on returns from a weather radar. The intensity of rain, snow, sleet, or hail is estimated based on color, where light blue represents light rain (or snow), and red/magenta indicates flooding rains and severe storms.
Weather Watch Box Colors
If precipitation is severe, watch boxes will also show up in addition to precipitation intensity.
- Red dashed = tornado watch
- Red solid = tornado warning
- Yellow dashed = severe thunderstorm watch
- Yellow solid = severe thunderstorm warning
- Green = flash flood warning
Extra Information About what does this symbol indicate on a weather map? That You May Find Interested
If the information we provide above is not enough, you may find more below here.
How to Read Symbols and Colors on Weather Maps
What does the L symbol indicate on a weather map? – Answers
Weather map symbols: What are they, and what do they mean?
How to Read a Weather Map (with Pictures) – wikiHow
Frequently Asked Questions About what does this symbol indicate on a weather map?
If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic what does this symbol indicate on a weather map?, then this section may help you solve it.
The meaning of the symbols on a weather map
Occluded fronts are represented by curved purple lines with both semicircles and triangles. Warm fronts are represented by curved red lines with red semicircles. Cold fronts are represented by curved blue lines with blue triangles. Stationary fronts have alternating sections of red curves with semicircles and blue curves with triangles.
A weather symbol is what?
You can count quite a few of these signs, which meteorologists use to represent different atmospheric and natural conditions on specialized weather maps, such as temperature, wind, precipitation, or the percentage of the sky covered by clouds. Historically, these maps were paper; today, they are digital.
On a weather map, what do the blue triangles represent?
Cold fronts mark the leading edge of a cold air mass that is displacing a warmer air mass; they are represented by blue lines with triangles pointing in the motion direction.
Which six weather symbols are there?
The following is a list of weather icons: sun, rain, snow, storm, cloud, fog, and lightning.
Which four different map symbols are there?
The choropleth, isopleth, proportional symbol, and dot map styles are the four most popular thematic map types.
How many different weather symbols exist?
The following are the 100 present weather symbols that are used in meteorology, which are broken down into groups as shown below.
Does pressure represent the weather?
These readings are shown as a blue “H” for high pressure or a red “L” for low pressure on weather maps.
What do the signs for weather fronts mean?
A red line with half-circles on one side denotes a warm front, which shows the leading edge of warmer air trying to replace a colder air mass. The blue triangles always point in the direction that the front (and the cold air) is moving.
What does each color on a weather map represent?
Green indicates light to moderate rainfall, yellow, orange, and red indicate moderate to heavy rainfall and can also indicate hail, while white or blue denotes the presence of snow, and pink denotes the presence of freezing rain, sleet, or a wintry mix.
What are the seven weather elements?
Precipitation, humidity, temperature, pressure, cloudiness, and wind are the basic atmospheric elements that make up the weather, as well as the constant movement of the air and the exchange of heat and moisture between the atmosphere and the land and ocean surfaces of Earth.
How are weather forecast symbols to be read?
The term “now” refers to the most recent hour mark. For instance, a “Sunny day” symbol at 10:00am means that we expect there to be sun at 10:00am. If there is a “Heavy rain” symbol at 11:00am on the same day, we expect it will begin raining between 10:00am and 11:00am, and it will be raining at 11:00am.
What does the wind weather symbol mean?
One long barb is used to indicate each 10 knots, while the short barb represents 5 knots; at 50 knots, the barbs change to a pennant; and for wind speeds greater than 50 knots, the long and short barbs are once more used in conjunction with the pennant(s).
How does weather class 10 work?
Weather can be cloudy, sunny, rainy, stormy, or clear, and it refers to the daily conditions of the atmosphere at a location in relation to elements like humidity, temperature, wind speed, rainfall, etc.
Which five factors influence weather?
The six main elements of weather—temperature, atmospheric pressure, cloud formation, wind, humidity, and rain—can all be changed slightly to produce a different weather pattern.
Short answer: Class 7 climate.
Climate. A place’s climate is determined by a number of factors, such as its altitude, geography, topography, etc. Climate is defined as the weather of an area over a long period of time, such as 20 years. For example, if a region’s temperature is typically cold, we consider that region to have a cold climate.
How does the latitude impact the weather in India?
Latitude. The Tropic of Cancer divides India into two halves, one with a tropical climate that is located south of the Tropic of Cancer and the other with a subtropical climate that is located north of the Tropic of Cancer.
What maintains our air’s warmth at night?
When the sun goes down at night, the outside atmosphere is allowed to emit infrared radiation, which is then reflected back to the surface by clouds if there are any, as well as by the atmosphere itself (greenhouse effect).
What are the weather’s four P’s?
The 4 Ps during cold temperatures—People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants—should be kept in mind as subfreezing temperatures approach. People: Keep an eye on elderly relatives, close friends, and neighbors.