Observations: Surface and Radar

Numerical Forecasts Satellite
Surface Observations Forest Fires and Smoke
Weather Forecasts


Surface-based Weather Observations

Current surface map from NOAA.

Surface-based observations include measurements made at weather stations (usually airports) and radar installations. Most weather station reports are now done automatically, with mixed results. While temperature, wind, humidity, and other elements are reliably recorded, the same cannot be said about cloud observations.

Cloud height and amount is usually measured using laser beams that are reflected from the underside of the clouds. Only measurements up to about 15,000 feet are collected, even though the lasers are reliable up to nearly twice that distance. This means that a lot of mid and high-level cloud does not appear in observations taken by the National Weather Service. Satellite images of cloud amount are more reliable for the eclipse seeker. Links to some observation sites are provided in the table below.

Link Description
National Weather Service Omnibus site to obtain weather observations and radar across the USA (response can be slow)
College of DuPage surface observations  Maps of surface observations, METAR reports by state (requires knowledge of METAR code)
 College of DuPage radar  Clickable national map of NWS radar sites
NWS radar Clickable national map of radar sites
 NCAR real-time weather  Clickable map of current weather
 Intellicast Current Weather  Comprehensive site for weather information by state and community



Climatology and weather for celestial events