Atmospheric soundings are an essential part to forecasting – whether you forecast professionally, casually out of self-interest or for storm chasing purposes. However atmospheric soundings are easy to learn but difficult to master. This series of modules will guide you step by step from basic concepts to far more advanced methods including looking at case study examples.
In this introduction to atmospheric soundings module you’ll learn:
- How to read an atmospheric sounding
- What all the lines mean and represent
- How to plot an atmospheric sounding
- Some basic fundamentals behind the atmospheric physics of how soundings work
If you already have a sound grasp of the basics of atmospheric soundings – you may wish to refer to the follow-on modules that discuss more advanced concepts (these will be added progressively over time).
The most common way to interpret the atmosphere is to look at 2D charts – examples of these are charts such as the mean sea level pressure charts, or winds and temperatures at various levels such as below.
While these are excellent at identifying broadscale features, we can only look at one level at a time. Atmospheric soundings, on the other hand, provide a vertical slide of the atmosphere at a single point on the map. This allows us to see temperatures, winds, dew point etc in the upper atmosphere at a single point. Soundings become daunting and unnecessarily complicated for many – but look far more complicated than they really are.