Added on: October 27, 2009
A good estimation of the height of stratiform cloud tops are one of the most sought after reports by pilots, especially pilots flying under instrument flight rules (IFR) during the winter months. There are very few weather products that clearly depict the height of these tops. Unless there’s a recent pilot report or two in the area, actual cloud top heights must be inferred by examining and often integrating several other weather sources. Like the one shown here, some pilots have been tempted to use the VAD Wind Profile (VWP) generated by the NWS WSR-88D NEXRAD Doppler radars as a source to determine cloud tops. These charts can sometimes be used to determine the height and thickness of stratiform cloud layers. In this workshop, we’ll introduce the VAD Wind Profile and look at an example where it did not provide a good estimation of the height of a stratiform cloud deck.