Added on: April 20, 2009
Although not trivial to learn, the Skew-T log (p) diagram is one of the pilot’s most versatile aviation weather power tools. The Earth Systems Research Laboratory’s Global Systems Division (ESRL/GSD) developed a Java-based tool that will build Skew-T log (p) diagrams based on the output of several numerical weather prediction models including the Rapid Update Cycle or RUC model. The tool at rucsoundings.noaa.gov is highly interactive and one of the best available on the web. It requires more than just interpreting a complex diagram, however. Before the first diagram appears in your browser, understanding how to choose the appropriate initial data source is critical especially when you are trying to assess the potential for fog or low ceilings at an airport. This is especially true when the airport is in the vicinity of higher terrain or near a body of water. In this workshop we’ll examine a case where using the right initial data source makes a huge difference when determining the potential for low IFR conditions at an airport that has rising terrain to the north.