Link to the eLearning

1       Introduction 

Regional Weather Information 

In this topic, you learn how to work with and interpret weather data provided under regional weather subscriptions. 

We estimate that this will take 10 minutes to complete.


2       Detailed Explanation 

Regional Weather

Use the REGIONAL tab to turn on and off weather layers for regions for which you have a weather information subscription. For example, if you have requested to see the region of Europe, then you will not see the US region.

N-Tracking provides the following weather layers:
 

        Lightning: cloud to ground and cloud to cloud lightning data for subscribed region(s)
 

        Radars: radar for different areas using colors to indicate precipitation type and intensity
 

        Tropical Forecasts: information on hurricanes, cyclones, and tropical storms
 

        Forecast winds and temperature: forecast winds and temperature aloft and areas of high winds
 

        Current winds and temperature: current winds and temperature aloft
 

        Current volcanoes forecast: location of currently active volcanoes
 

        Ash forecast: images and forecast of the latest areas affected by ash
 

        Jet streams forecasts: direction, speed and location of the jet stream
 

        Surface visibility forecast: surface visibility.
 

        Forecast surface fronts: warm, cold, and occluded fronts
 

        Forecast ceiling: cloud ceiling and flight category

Lightning

You can turn on and off lightning layers using the slider. Lightning layers turned on will show both real-time and delayed lightning layers. The cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud lightning data for a region are shown on the map. Both ground and cloud lightning strokes are available as layers. You can set the total minutes 5 - 60 minutes of data to display and the type of data; ground, cloud or both.
Lightning is color coded to depict age and is updated each minute.

 

Use the + and - buttons to increase and decrease the time in minutes.

Not all cloud lightning strokes will be counted or displayed, only a fraction of cloud lightning activity will be displayed. However, this is still enough data to warn you of approaching thunderstorms. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Layers button.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the REGIONAL tab.

Let's start by looking at the Radars layers.

Radars layers display current composite radar, including precipitation type and intensity for your region you select.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Radars slider.

To determine the intensity of the falling rain or snow, different colors are used. While color schemes can be different, below are the most common colors in use: 

 

Light green: light rain, or rain aloft not reaching ground

Dark green: light to moderate rain

Yellow: moderate rain

Orange: heavy rain

Red: very heavy rain or rain and hail

White or blue: snow

Pink: freezing rain or sleet or mix of winter precipitation types 
 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Radar, US slider.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Play icon.

You can also view the forecast of the radar trends across your chosen area by using the + and - buttons. You can choose from current to 175 minutes in the past, with five minute intervals.

The next few images provide you with a sense of how animated radar changes what you see.

The DTN feed used for the animation updates every five minutes. 

If you click anywhere on the map while the animation is playing, N-Tracking provides detailed text about the radar imagery in the Weather pane. 

Interaction 1

Close the Weather pane when you have reviewed the information you wanted. 

Interaction 1 Click the X (Close) button.

The active weather layers display on the map. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Layers button.

Stop the playing of the radar animation. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Stop icon.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Coverage areas slider.

For the purposes of this demonstration only, the map line unit scale and zoom level changes. 

Coverage areas are bounded by dotted lines. 

Access the Radars pane again by clicking the Layers button.

Interaction 1 Click the Layers button.

Click the "global" Radars slider to deactivate any and all radar layers. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Radars slider.

Move on to the next weather option, tropical forecasts. 

Interaction 1

Turning on the topical forecasts provides you updated information on global tropical forecasts for hurricanes, cyclones, and tropical storms.

Interaction 1 Click the Tropical, forecasts slider.

For the purposes of this demonstration, the map and its line scale unit change. 

You can display different layers of the storm using the following layers. Let's look at the individual features of the tropical forecasts in more detail.

Start by turning on all model tracks.

Interaction 2 Click the All model tracks slider.

Turning on "All model tracks" will present you with all the tracks for a given storm. The current storm that is depicted is located over the Philippines and South China Sea. Let's zoom in closer for a more clear view.

Interaction 1 Click the button.

If you find that viewing the storm tracks is not clear you can change the brightness of the map to make it more visible, this can be done under the "General" tab. You can see from the image below that all model tracks is more visible.

 

You can now see the model tracks more easily. These lines represent the tracking of storms. In the next slide you will see how the tracking lines line up with a storm. Let's have a look at turning on the official track of the storm.
 
The gray lines represent other track whilst the red line represents the official track.
Clicking on any part of the track will give you some detailed information, such as name of storm.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Official track slider.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Track probability slider.

The official track displays all past positions of the storm. This gets updated every six hours or more frequently as needed.

The following images and their meanings:

 Tropical Storm

 Hurricane

 Tropical Depression

 Past Position

this gives us a good view of where the storm has been and the direction in which it is moving.
 

Clicking on parts of the track will give some detailed information. This information will be shown at the top right hand side of the map.

 

Displaying track probability will give you an area of the probable track of the storm displayed over land or water.

The Yellow area has a probability of low, whilst the orange area is medium and the red area is a high probability that the track of the storm could be heading in the following direction.

Clicking on an area of the storm will give you some detailed information. In this example it has given you the details for all model tracks and track probability information. This is only due to the fact that we still the following features active and visible.
 

To reduce the clutter we have turned off the first three layers. Let's have a look at turning on wind speed forecast. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click Wind Speed Forecast.

You can see the wind speed forecast shown in yellow. Clicking within the the wind diagram will present you with some detailed information. The wind will display a color-coded contoured forecast of wind data values over both land and water areas.

 

Detailed information regarding the wind. 

 

We will leave wind speed forecast on for now and let's have a look at the rain forecast. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Rain Forecast slider.

You can see that turning on the rainfall displays a color coded contoured forecast of rain data values over both land and water areas. Clicking within the colors will give you some details regarding the rainfall. You can see with the image below that amount of rainfall ( in inches) corresponds to the color on the map. 

 

The color codes are in inches. The detailed information will show the rainfall in millimeters.
 
 

Clicking within the image will bring up detailed information about the rain forecast.

Interaction 1

Let's turn on the wave forecast. 

Interaction 1 Click the Wave Forecast slider.

Wave height forecast will give you a color-coded contoured data values over water areas. Clicking within the wave information will bring up detailed information.
 

 
The color coded shows the height of the waves in feet. Clicking within the diagram will present the wave height in meters.
 

Tropical forecasts have been turned off now. Let's look at the next feature, forecast winds and temperature.

Interaction 2Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Layers button.

Interaction 2 Click the Forecast winds and temperature slider.

Forecast winds and temperature will display you the winds and temperature aloft and wind areas at a chosen flight level (FL) at a future time. 

Interaction 1

Let's start by looking at the winds and temperature aloft. 

Interaction 1 Click the Winds & Temps Aloft slider.

Turning on the Winds and Temps Aloft will present you with the following images. It provides you with graphics of winds and temperature at a multitude of altitudes. This presentation style is called "wind barbs" they show both wind speed and direction on a single icon. The following image will best explain the wind barbs.



The number on the wind barb represents the temperature. The direction is where the wind is coming from. So for an example:
 The wind is from the West blowing towards the East at 30 kts.
 

You can get more detail by selecting one of the wind barbs. 

Interaction 1

If viewing the graphics is particularly difficult try changing the brightness of the map under the General tab.

The winds aloft will only show the winds in the current window view. If you zoom out you will have to wait till the feature loads to present the new view. 

Interaction 1 Click the Wind Barb image.

Some important information regarding that particular wind barb: You can see that the temperature matches the temperature represented on the wind barb that you selected. Let's now have a look at changing the FL.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Close button.

Currently, we are looking and the winds aloft for flight level 050 (5000 feet) and in the next six hours. Using the plus and minus buttons  you are able to change the level and the future time of the forecast. Let's increase the flight level to 100 (10000 feet). The wind barbs will update automatically.

Interaction 2Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Layers button.

Interaction 2 Click the - + 050 button.

Now we have changed the flight level lets look at the wind areas. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Wind Areas slider.

The wind areas graphic will present you with a contoured and color filled in polygon which will indicate areas on the map where there are high wind speeds. Very low wind speeds do not receive a color, but progressively faster wind speeds are colored from yellow, orange and red. You can find more detailed information about the wind by clicking in the graphic.

 

Currently you are viewing the wind areas for FL100, this can be changed to view different flight levels.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Forecast winds and temperature slider.

We have just looked at the forecasted winds and temperature, let's now have a look at the current winds and temperature. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Current winds and temperature slider.

The current winds and temperature will show the current winds at a chosen flight level only. Currently, it is showing the winds aloft at flight level 050, this can be increased or decreased.

The winds aloft will only show the wind barbs in the current window view. If you zoom out you will have to wait till the feature loads to present the new view. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Current Volcanoes Forecast slider.

Let's now have a look at the volcanoes forecast and ash forecast that you might encounter on your flight.

Turning on the volcanoes forecast will present you with the latest advisory of volcano activity globally. You can see the volcanoes that have shown up on the map. In this image, they are indicated as gray to show no data available. There are other possible images that might be shown as well. These are as follows:

 

Clicking on a volcano will give you the name and location of that particular volcano.


  

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Ash Forecast slider.

Turning on the ash forecast will allow you to have the option to view the ash activity either currently or within a period of 6, 12 or 18 hours.
The following image gives you the heights for the ash forecast.


or alternatively you can select the volcano which will bring up some detailed information, this will be explained in the next slide.
 

The following information is for the selected volcano. 

Turning on the Jet Streams forecast will provide you a forecast for periods of 6,12,18 and 24 hours, you can change the times by using the plus and minus buttons.

Interaction 2Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Jet Streams Forecast slider.

You will be able to see some useful information about the winds by clicking on one of the images. This will bring up some detailed information.
 

 

Interaction 2 Click the Jet Streams Forecast slider.

Turning on surface visibility forecast will show you images and colors of different surface visibility. This indicates a forecast for LIFR (low instrument flight rules) IFR (instrument flight rules) MVFR (marginal flight rules) and VFR (visual flight rules). Use the layers to view forecast data for the next 24 hours.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Surface Visibility Forecast slider.

The different colored (purple, red, blue) zones on the map indicate the areas in which there is different visibility. 

Click an area of interest on the image to display the Weather pane on the upper right of the map. You can scroll through this text for more detail.

In this example, the highlighted area shows the map area clicked. 

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Close button.

Let's now have a look at the forecast surface fronts.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Forecast Surface Fronts slider.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Forecast Surface Fronts slider.

See the BASIC tab for current surface fronts.

This feature presents you with current surface fonts every 3.
 Cold Front - a zone separating two air masses, of which the cooler, denser mass is advancing and replacing the warmer air.
 Warm Front - a transition zone between a mass of warm air and the cold air it is replacing.
 Trough - an area of relatively low atmospheric pressure. This is the opposite of a ridge.
 Occluded Front - a composite of two fronts, formed as a cold front overtakes a warm front. Two types of occlusions can form, a cold occlusion where the cold air is behind the cold front and a warm occlusion where the coldest air is ahead of the warm front.
 Stationary Front - a front between a warm and cold air mass that is moving very slowly.
 

Click on the front to display detailed text information.

 

Enable the forecast ceiling. You will see contoured polygons that indicate where low instrument flight rules (LIFR), instrument flight rules (IFR), and marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) apply.

Interaction 1

Interaction 1 Click the Forecast ceiling slider.

As with other weather features, you can click on any part of the image to view some detailed information about the ceiling in the Weather pane. 

The colors provide information on the height and which flight rules are to be expected.