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 METAR and TAF Decoding Guide Dauntless Aviation

Aviation Weather Services provide forecast (TAF - Terminal Aerodrome Forecast) and current condition reports (METAR - an abbreviation for "Routine Aviation Weather Observation" in French) in an encoded format. It's a good skill for any pilot to have to be able to decode METARs and TAFs.

The key below provides a comprehensive overview of METAR and TAF abbreviations

 


KEY to AERODROME FORECAST (TAF) and

AVIATION ROUTINE WEATHER REPORT
(METAR)
TAF KPIT 091730Z 091818 15005KT 5SM HZ FEW020 WS010/31022KT
     FM1930 30015G25KT 3SM SHRA OVC015 TEMPO 2022 1/2SM +TSRA
      OVC008CB
     FM0100 27008KT 5SM SHRA BKN020 0VC040 PROB40 0407 1SM -RA BR
     FM1015 18005KT 6SM -SHRA OVC020 BECMG 1315 P6SM NSW SKC
     
METAR KPIT 091955Z COR 22015G25KT 3/4SM R28L/2600FT TSRA OVC010CB
18/16 A2992 RMK SLP045 T01820159
Forecast Explanation Report
TAF
Message type: TAF-routine or TAF
AMD-amended forecast, METAR-hourly,
SPECI-special or TESTM-non-commissioned
ASOS report
METAR
KPIT
ICAO location indicator
KPIT
091730Z
Issuance time: ALL times in UTC "Z",
2-digit date, 4-digit time
091955Z
091818
Valid period: 2-digit date,
2-digit beginning,
2-digit ending times
In U.S. METAR: CORrected ob; or
AUTOmated ob for automated
report with no human intervention;
omitted when observer logs on
COR
15005KT
Wind: 3 digit true-north direction,
nearest 10 degrees (or VaRiaBle);
next 2-3 digits for speed and unit,
KT (KMH or MPS); as needed,
Gust and maximum speed; 00000KT for calm;
for METAR, if direction varies
60 degrees or more, Variability appended,
e.g. 180V260
22015G25KT
5SM
Prevailing visibility: in U.S., Statute
Miles & fractions; above 6 miles in TAF
Plus6SM. (Or, 4-digit minimum visibility
in meters and as required, lowest value
with direction)
3/4SM
Runway Visual Range: R; 2-digit runway designator
Left, Center, or Right as needed;
"/"; Minus or Plus in U.S,
4-digit value, FeeT in U.S.
(usually meters elsewhere);
4-digit value Varialbility 4-digit value
(and tendency Down, Up or No change)
R28L/2600FT
HZ
Significant present, forecast and
recent weather: see table
(below)
TSRA
FEW020
Cloud amount, height and type: SKy
Clear 0/8, FEW >0/8-2/8,
SCaTtered 3/8-4/8, BroKeN 5/8-7/8,
OVerCast 8/8; 3-digit height in hundreds of ft;
Towering CUmulus or CumulonimBus in
METAR; in TAF, only CB.
Vertical Visibility for obscured sky and
height "VV004". More than 1 layer may be reported
or forecast. In automated METAR reports only, CLeaR
for "clear below 12,000 feet"
OVC010CB
Temperature: degrees Celsius; first 2 digits,
temperature "/" last 2 digits, dew-point temperature;
Minus for below zero, e.g., M06
18/16
Altimeter setting: indicator and 4 digits; in U.S.,
A-inches and hundredths; (Q-hectoPascals, e.g. Q1013)
A2992
WS010/31022KT
In U.S. TAF, non-convective low-level
(<=2,000 ft)Wind Shear; 3-digit height (hundreds of ft);
"/", 3-digit wind direction and 2-3 digit wind speed
above the indicated height, and unit, KT
In METAR, ReMarK indicator
& remarks. For example:Sea-Level Pressure in
hectoPascals & tenths, as shown: 1004.5 hPa;
Temp/dew-point in tenths �C, as shown:
temp 18.2�C, dew-point 15.9�C
RMK
SLP045
T01820159
FM1930
FroM and 2-digit hour and 2-digit
minute beginning time: indicates significant change.
Each FM starts on a new line, indented 5 spaces.
TEMPO 2022
TEMPOrary: changes expected for < 1 hour and in
total, < half of 2-digit hour beginning and
2-digit hour ending time period
PROB40 0407
PROBability and 2-digit percent (30 or 40): probable
condition during 2-digit hour beginning and
2-digit hour ending time period
BECMG 1315
BECoMinG: change expected during 2-digit
hour beginning and 2-digit hour ending
time period

Table of Significant Present, Forecast and Recent Weather -

Grouped in categories and used in the order listed below; or as needed in TAF, No Significant Weather.

QUALIFIER
Intensity or Proximity
   - Light              "no sign" Moderate   + Heavy
   VC Vicinity: but not at aerodrome;
                in U.S. METAR, between 5 and 10SM of the point(s) of observation;
                in U.S. TAF, 5 to 10SM from center of runway complex
                (elsewhere within 8000m)

Descriptor
   MI Shallow           BC Patches           PR Partial          TS Thunderstorm
   BL Blowing           SH Showers           DR Drifting         FZ Freezing

WEATHER PHENOMENA
Precipitation
   DZ Drizzle           RA Rain              SN Snow             SG Snow grains
   IC Ice crystals      PL Ice pellets       GR Hail             GS Small hail/snow pellets
   UP Unknown precipitation in automated observations

Obscuration
   BR Mist(>= 5/8SM)    FG Fog(< 5/8SM)      FU Smoke            VA Volcanic Ash
   SA Sand              HZ Haze              PY Spray            DU Widespread dust

Other
   SQ Squall            SS Sandstorm         DS Duststorm        PO Well developed
   FC Funnel cloud      +FC tornado/waterspout                      dust/sand whirls

  • Explanations in parentheses "( )" indicate different worldwide practices.
  • Ceiling is not specified; defined as the lowest broken or overcast layer, or the vertical visibility.
  • NWS TAFs exclude turbulence, icing & temperature forecasts; NWS METARs exclude trend fcsts
  • Although not used in US, Ceiling And Visibility OK replaces visibility, weather and clouds if: visibility >=10km; no cloud below 5000 ft (1500m) or below the highest minimum sector altitude, whichever is greater and no CB; and no precipitation, TS, DS, SS, MIFG, DRDU, DRSA, or DRSN.

 


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