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  • Metar

    METAR stands for Meteorological Aerodrome Report.
    It's a weather report for the airfield your landing or taking off from.

    Why is it useful?
    It's nice to know what the weather is like at a field so you know which runway is likely to be in use for your Arrival/Departure and how difficult your take off or landing may be.

    A METAR is usually broken down into around 7 different sections.
    I will try to explain as simply as I can how you can read a METAR.

    On the MS Flights server you can type !Q into the multiplayer chat window to get a METAR for a particular field (as shown above).

    I have search for the weather at EGCC and KLAX

    There are slight differences in the format but both are read the same.


    030820z 19017KT 9999 FEW03716/11 Q1004
    1st 03 0820z
    The first 2 digits are the day of the month, so today it's the 3rd.
    The next 4 are the time of the weather observation so this was at 0820 zulu time.
    Weather Obs in the (UK at least ) are done every 30mins at 20 and 50 past the hour, so the next OB would be 0850z.
    In some places MET Obs are done hourly at 50mins past the hour.

    2nd 190 17kt
    There is a 17KT wind blowing from 190 degs.
    Pilots like to take off into the wind, so if at EGCC they had runways 36 and 18 you could expect runway 18 for departures and arrivals as this would be into the wind.

    You may also see things like VRB03KT, 09013G28KT and 120V190.
    VRB = Variable meaning the wind speed is 3KTs and below or the wind direction is moving by 180degs or more.
    09013G28 090 13KT but is Gusting up to 28KT.
    and 120V190 V = Varying

    If the wind direction is moving more than 60degrees but not over 180degrees, instead of VRB you would see xxxVxxx

    So 12013G34KT 110V150 or VRB13G34KT if the wind direction is move than 180 degrees variation.

    3rd 9999
    This is visibility.
    Visibility is measured in Metres in the UK and statute miles in the US.
    If this visibility was 4000m then this would say 4000.
    Visibility of 10km or more reads 9999.
    So we know that the visibility is perfect

    In the KLAX METAR the Vis reads 8 statute miles.

    4th Weather
    Non of the METARS above have any weather as it must be a nice day at both airfields.
    But you will see similar to 030820z 19017KT 9999 -SHRA FEW037 16/11 Q1004

    In this example -SHRA = Light Showers of Rain
    There are lots of weather descriptors and unless you are dealing with METARS daily you will never remember them all.
    The best place to view them all is here.

    5th FEW037
    This is our clouds section.
    The amount of cloud is measure in FEW (A Few) SCT (Scattered) BKN (Broken) OVC (Overcast).
    The numbers afterwards are the height of the clouds base measured in feet.
    So 037 would be 3700ft.
    If more than 1 layer of cloud you may have something like FEW015 SCT020 BKN045.
    In the UK Civil airports only report cloud up to 5000ft.

    In the US automated METAR reports only, no clouds are detected below 12000 feet.
    and SKC is used when there are no clouds in the sky.

    If the observer is unable to see the clouds (maybe it's foggy or raining really heavy?) then ///VV would be shown in the UK.
    An I believe VV in the US.

    You may also see SCT030CB or FEW025TCU.
    CB = Cumulonimbus Type cloud
    TCU = Towering Cumulus Type cloud.

    Both these types of cloud are associated with Thunderstorms and are reported at any height so pilots know to try and avoid them.

    6th 16/11
    Temperature and dew point at the airfield
    Temperature 16 deg Celcius and the Dewpoint is 11deg Celcius.
    This can also be shown as M16/M11 if the temperatures are in Minus figures.

    If Minus figures then you may also see things like SN (Snow) or FZRA (Freezing Rain) in the weather section.

    7th Q1004
    This is the QNH of the airfield measured in HPa or Alimeter Setting measure in Inches if shown as A2990.

    In the UK there is another descriptor code you may see known as CAVOK.

    CAVOK replaces visibility and cloud, and is used when the visibility is above 10km and there are no clouds below 5000ft.

    Hope I've helped.
    Last edited by ATC_ROO; December 23, 2014, 12:09 PM.
    If you don't use BOINC or World Community Grid then you should!

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