How to Decode a METAR



Why choose wikiHow?
wikiHow marks an article as reader approved once we have received enough feedback to know that most readers were able to successfully complete the task. In this case, we have also received several testimonials from our readers, who told us how this article truly helped them.

How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR)

Aviators use METAR reports to get essential knowledge of flying conditions. To the casual observer this may look like a string of random numbers and letters, but this article tells you how to decode such a report.

Steps

  1. Obtain the Report.The following wikiHow uses a METAR showing weather conditions at the United States Air Force Academy. The Report referred to is:

    METAR KAFF 212355Z COR VRB05KT 15SM FEW040 SCT060 SCT075 SCT090 BKN220 15/M01 A2957 RMK ACSL DSNT SE-S SLP960 SHRA DSNT N-E-SE AND DSNT NW 60001 55000 LAST COR 0043

  2. Assess the Type of Report (METAR).It will be either:
    • METAR = Routine Hourly report; or
    • SPECI = Special, unscheduled report.
  3. Note the Station Identifier (KAFF).K is the prefix for location Identifiers in the Continental US. AFF = Air Force Academy airfield. The international specifications for METARs are published by the World Meterological Organization (WMO). For example, EGLL is used for London Heathrow and RJAA for Tokyo Narita airports.
  4. Note the Date/Time (212355Z).The first two numbers are the day of the month followed by the time in Zulu (aka Universal or Greenwich Mean Time). In this case, the report was made on the 21st day of the month at 2355 Zulu (1755 local time). Note: The report gives no indication of the month or year.
  5. Look for the Modifier (COR).If present, it will be either:
    • AUTO = automated station;
    • COR = corrected automated report.
  6. Check the Wind Information (VRB05KT).The first three numbers are the direction the wind is from (true heading) or "VRB" for variable, followed by the speed in knots. If the wind is gusting, the highest gust will be displayed after the wind speed. For example, winds from the North at a speed of 7 knots with a gust up to 15 knots would be displayed "36007G15KT".
  7. Check the Visibility (15SM).The prevailing visibility in statute miles (SM). Fractions are displayed with a space, 1 1/2SM. Additional visibility for a runway may also appear in the report as R (for runway) followed by the selected runway, a slash (/), and the visibility in feet for that runway. For example R36L/2,400 feet (731.5 m) would denote a visibility of 2,400 feet (731.5 m) for runway 36 left.
  8. View the Present Weather (it's absent in this example).This may include one or more of the following: Intensity, Descriptor, Precipitation, Obscuration, and other phenomenon. See table below:
    Intensity Descriptor Precipitation Obscuration Other
    - Light MI Shallow DZ Drizzle BR Mist PO Dust/Sand whirls
    Moderate (no qualifier) BC Patches RA Rain FG Fog SQSqualls
    + Heavy DR Low Drifting SN Snow FU Smoke FC Funnel Cloud
    VC In the vicinity BL Blowing SG Snow Grains DU Dust +FC Tornado or Waterspout
      SH Showers IC Ice Crystals SA Sand SS Sandstorm
      TS Thunderstorm PL Ice Pellets HZ Haze DS Duststorm
      FZ Freezing GR Hail PY Spray  
      PR Partial GS Small Hail or Snow Pellets VA Volcanic Ash  
        UP Unknown Precipitation*    
    *Automated stations only For example: light snow would be -SN, heavy thunderstorm with rain +TSRA, moderate freezing drizzle FZDZ, etc.
  9. Note the Sky Condition (FEW040 SCT060 SCT075 SCT090 BKN220).The first three letters tell the amount of sky covered.
    • SKC = Clear (manual report);
    • CLR = Clear (automated report);
    • FEW = Few (1/8 to 2/8 of sky covered);
    • SCT = Scattered (3/8 to 4/8 of sky covered);
    • BKN = Broken (5/8 to 7/8 of sky covered);
    • OVC = Overcast (total sky coverage).

      The following numbers indicate the height of the base of the clouds in hundreds of feet above the ground. The ceiling is the lowest cloud deck reported as either BKN or OVC. In the example, the ceiling is at 22,000 feet (6,705.6 m).

  10. View the Temperature/Dew Point (15/M01).This is the temperature reported in C° and the dewpoint, also in C°. An 'M' means Minus.
  11. Check the Altimeter Setting (A2957).This is the equivalent sea level pressure in inches of Mercury ("Hg). For example, A2957 = 29.57"Hg. Pilots use this information to ensure their altimeter is displaying the correct altitude. 29.92 is standard.
  12. Note the Remarks (RMK ACSL DSNT SE-S SLP960 SHRA DSNT N-E-SE AND DSNT NW 60001 55000 LAST COR 0043).Any remarks that may be useful, such as when a thunderstorm began or ended, type of station, sea level pressure, temperature to the tenth of a degree, etc. In the example:
    • ACSL DSNT SE-S = altocumulus standing lenticular clouds in the distant (beyond 10SM) south-east through south.
    • SLP960 = Sea level pressure (in tenths of hectopascals) 996.0hPa. The 10 or 9 at the beginning is omitted. Add the number that brings it closest to 1,000.0.
    • SHRA DSNT N-E-SE AND DSNT NW = moderate rain showers in the distant north through east through south-east and distant north-west.
    • 60001 55000 = additive and automated maintenance data.
    • LAST COR 0043 = last correction at 43 minutes past the hour.
  13. Find your Local Airport Readings.Use the links below to find METAR reports for your local airport.

Community Q&A

Search
  • Question
    Is ceiling height in MSL or AGL?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    In aerodrome forecasts like METAR, ceiling info will be in AGL since you'll be landing or taking off.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    How do I find winds aloft?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Go to the Aviation Weather website. Once there, look on the top and hit the "Forecast" drop-down box. Look for "Winds/Temp" and click on it. Once you are there, look on the map of the United States and click the region and state that you are in on the map.
    Thanks!
Unanswered Questions
  • What does a flight dispatcher do?
  • What do the pictures tell you when showing a very windy day?
  • If the wind sensor is down and the ASOS is going AUTO, what goes in the RMK? I have been looking in the SWOP and can not find an answer.
  • Thank you for this very helpful information. How can I see other articles of yours?
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
  • Find your local airport and practice reading the METAR and then checking it with the conditions outside.
  • NAV Canada has a great site for METAR's []

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: | |

In other languages:

Español: , Русский: , Italiano: 

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 374,645 times.
Did this article help you?
of readers found this articlehelpful.
285 votes - 94%
Click a star to add your vote
94% of people told us that this article helped them.
Co-authors:
Updated:
Views: 374,645

Catherine Caughlan

Jun 12, 2019

"I love the way you had this broke down into sections that a non-pilot ( me) could understand. I have been lookingfor this kind of example for a while. I now understand it and fell that I will be able to pass the part 107 faa test. Thank you! "

Karyn Lininger

Jun 30, 2019

"Thank you so very much! This was incredibly helpful! I am a student in the Flight Technology Program at SacramentoCity College and I was having a difficult time with METAR reports. I have a very clear understanding now. Thank you again!"

Jim W.

Jan 30, 2019

"I'm new to flying. Taking flight lessons, reading, and ground school for PPL. This tutorial is perfect and easy tounderstand. Reading weather starts and ends my day now. Thanks!"

Yahye Mohamud

Jul 7, 2019

"Your page is so useful & helpful for career and my job. I already finished my meteorology course, but in mycourse TAF and Metar were not arranged in your format."

Michael Hodges

May 31, 2019

"Just as weather is important to an FAA-licensed pilot, it is also important to a AMA pilot (model aircraft). Thishobby has greatly advanced in the recent past. "

Subash Sunuwar

Apr 9, 2019

"I'm taking pilot classes and I have to know what METAR and TAF means. This helps me to read the weatherinformation."

Earl Allgood

Mar 9, 2019

"This by far has helped me a lot. It is easy to read and understand. Thank you helping this old man. "

Robert Bepko

Jun 11, 2019

"Great step-by-step look at the METAR. The easiest way for someone to get up and running fast! "
Rated this article:

John Mathias

Feb 26, 2019

"Great refresher for anyone that doesn't use them regularly. Practice. Practice. Practice."

Qwentin Palfrey

May 21, 2019

"It's complicated, but super logical. The more simple it is, the harder to understand."
Rated this article:

Shawn Reynolds

Jan 28

"I am a private pilot and I refer to this information often. Very well done."

Ray Wallace

May 17, 2019

"Very useful information, as I'm studying flight. Much appreciated!"

Greg Stinzianni

Dec 29, 2019

"This breaks down the sections and explains each part in detail."

Kaylee Doofenschmurtz

Oct 14, 2019

"Trying to beat my instructor to the punch, totally helpful! "
Rated this article:

Tony Virili

Aug 30, 2019

"Very well done. Clear explanations. Thank you."

Alejandro Salazar

Mar 9, 2019

"Very helpful in reviewing this material."

Anonymous

May 30, 2019

"This explains very well, thank you!"

William Carcano

May 8, 2019

"How to read weather.





Video: Aviation Routine Weather Report METAR

How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR)
How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) images

2019 year
2019 year - How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) pictures

How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) advise
How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) recommend photo

How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) photo
How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) foto

How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) new picture
How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) new pictures

pictures How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR)
images How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR)

Watch How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) video
Watch How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) video

Communication on this topic: How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather , how-to-read-an-aviation-routine-weather/
Communication on this topic: How to Read an Aviation Routine Weather , how-to-read-an-aviation-routine-weather/ , how-to-read-an-aviation-routine-weather/

Related News


Prosecco and Lychee Jellies Recipe
The Boy Scouts Will Now Allow Transgender Kids to Join
Definitive Proof That Celebrities Look Better at the Gym thanYou
Op déze manier kwam ik van mijn acne af
Cooking Oil Options
These Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas Dont Look DIY at All
How to Write Unit Tests
Outfits with Black Leggings – 21 Ways to Wear Black Leggings
How to Get Started Using Excel: Tips for Beginners
High-street cosmetic surgery clinics unregulated’
How to Fish (for Beginners)
How to Transition From Nerd to Muscle Man



Date: 06.12.2018, 20:02 / Views: 54581