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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Aviation Weather Services

Weather Charts

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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge



Table of Contents

Chapter 1, Introduction To Flying
Chapter 2, Aircraft Structure
Chapter 3, Principles of Flight
Chapter 4, Aerodynamics of Flight
Chapter 5, Flight Controls
Chapter 6, Aircraft Systems
Chapter 7, Flight Instruments
Chapter 8, Flight Manuals and Other Documents
Chapter 9, Weight and Balance
Chapter 10, Aircraft Performance
Chapter 11, Weather Theory
Chapter 12, Aviation Weather Services
Chapter 13, Airport Operation
Chapter 14, Airspace
Chapter 15, Navigation
Chapter 16, Aeromedical Factors
Chapter 17, Aeronautical Decision Making




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Weather depiction chart.
Figure 12-16. Weather depiction chart.

Weather depiction charts show a modified station model that
provides sky conditions in the form of total sky cover, cloud
height or ceiling, weather, and obstructions to visibility, but
does not include winds or pressure readings like the surface
analysis chart. A bracket ( ] ) symbol to the right of the station
indicates the observation was made by an automated station.
A detailed explanation of a station model is depicted in the
previous discussion of surface analysis charts.

Radar Summary Chart
A radar summary chart is a graphically depicted collection
of radar weather reports (SDs). [Figure 12-17] The chart
is published hourly at 35 minutes past the hour. It displays
areas of precipitation, as well as information regarding the
characteristics of the precipitation. [Figure 12-18] A radar
summary chart includes:
• No information—if information is not reported, the
chart will say "NA." If no echoes are detected, the
chart will say "NE."
• Precipitation intensity contours—intensity can be
described as one of six levels and is shown on the
chart by three contour intervals.
• Height of tops—the heights of the echo tops are given
in hundreds of feet MSL.

•Movement of cells—individual cell movement is
indicated by an arrow pointing in the direction of
movement. The speed of movement in knots is the
number at the top of the arrow head. "LM" indicates
little movement.
• Type of precipitation—the type of precipitation is
marked on the chart using specific symbols. These
symbols are not the same as used on the METAR
• Echo configuration—echoes are shown as being areas,
cells, or lines.
• Weather watches—severe weather watch areas for
tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are depicted by
boxes outlined with heavy dashed lines.

The radar summary chart is a valuable tool for preflight
planning. It does, however, contain several limitations
for the usage of the chart. This chart depicts only areas of
precipitation. It will not show areas of clouds and fog with
no appreciable precipitation, or the height of the tops and
bases of the clouds. Radar summary charts are a depiction
of current precipitation and should be used in conjunction
with current METAR and weather forecasts.