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Weather Mapping

The Daily Weather Map

The weather map that appears in daily newspapers can be used to predict with some degree of accuracy conditions in the next few days. It usually does not include as much station information as the more detailed maps described above. Instead the major features of the daily weather map include isobars and high and low pressure areas.

Isobars connect locations with the same barometric pressure. The pressure described by each isobar is often indicated at one end, the other, or both, in inches, millibars, or other unit. Isobars often enclose regions of high or low pressure indicated on the map as H or L.

The outer edge of a concentric series of isobars marks a front. The nature of the front is indicated by means of solid triangles, solid half-circles, or a combination of the two. An isobar with solid triangles attached represents a cold front; one with solid half-circles, a warm front; one with triangles and half-circles on opposite sides, a stationary front; and one with triangles and half-circles on the same side, an occluded front. The daily weather map may also include simplified symbols that indicate weather at a station as a T enclosed in a circle for thunderstorms, F enclosed in a circle for fog, and Z in a circle for freezing rain.

Resources

Books

Danielson, Eric W., James Levin, and Elliot Abrams. Meteorology. 2nd ed. with CD-ROM. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math, 2002.

Lutgens, Frederick K., Edward J. Tarbuck, and Dennis Tasa. The Atmosphere: An Intorduction to Meteorology. 8th ed. New York: Prentice-Hall, 2000.

McNeill, Robert C. Understanding the Weather. Las Vegas: Arbor Publishers, 1991.

Moran, Joseph M., and Michael D. Morgan. Meteorology: The Atmosphere and the Science of Weather. New York: Macmillan, 1994.

Periodicals

"Boundary-Layer Meteorology." Boundary-Layer Meteorology 105, no. 3-3 (2002): 515-520.

David E. Newton

KEY TERMS

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Barometric pressure

—Air pressure; the force exerted by a column of air at any given point.

Cloud cover

—The portion of the sky that is covered by clouds at any given time and place.

Dew point

—The temperature to which air must be cooled for it to become saturated.

Isobar

—A line on a weather map connecting points of equal atmospheric pressure.

Surface chart

—A map that shows weather conditions at and just above Earth's surface.

Visibility

—The distance to which an observer can see at any given location.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Verbena Family (Verbenaceae) - Tropical Hardwoods In The Verbena Family to WelfarismWeather Mapping - History, Data Collection And Transmission, Constructing The Weather Map, The Daily Weather Map