How to DECODE METAR REMARKS? (part 2 METAR series) / Explained by CAPTAIN JOE
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Dear friends and followers, welcome back to my channel and to part 2 of our METAR video series where we’ll discuss how to read the remarks section and Trend Type Landing Forecasts or TTLs often found at the end of a METAR report. This is the part that can be most confusing even to experienced airline pilots.
Beginning with our example from Los Angeles International we see the following added after the air pressure (RMK AO2 SLP121 T01610106). Our first key is RMK meaning Remarks. This is a standard code to display any additional or non standard information such as the strings we’re reading here or comments such as a NOTAM or Warning. Next we see “AO2” meaning that the station which took the reading is equipped with a so called Precipitation Discriminator Sensor which can tell the difference between rain and snow. If a station is not equipped with this sensor this remark will read “AO1”. The abbreviation SLP refers to Sea Level Pressure, in this case SLP121 would mean 1012.1 hPa. Note that a decimal is always given here which is unusual for pressure values in hectoPascals, in other words the last digit of an SLP is always a decimal unit rather than a whole number. We see this again with temperature in this code (T01610106). Looking at this at first may seem like gibberish but it is actually quite simple once you know what it means. The letter “T” designates that this is a temperature reading and is always followed by eight numbers to describe the temperature and dewpoint at the field. This code is used in America to give readings in degrees Celsius with more accuracy, again by providing a decimal reading. The first number shown will always be either a 0 for positive temperatures or a 1 for negative. Note that in the full METAR we saw the temperature listed as 16 degrees Celsius and the dew point as 11 Degrees Celsius. We can see in our temperature remark that the actual measurement was Positive 16.1 Degrees Celsius and the Dew Point as Positive 10.6 Degrees Celsius. It is debatable whether or not this information is actually useful to pilots during operations but it is there if you want it.
Now in our example from JFK airport in New York we can see a few other remarks have been added so lets break them down. First off we know the meaning of most of the remarks section such as AO2, SLP and T but what about this new code P0000? This refers to Liquid Equivalent Precipitation which has accumulated in the last hour and is measured in inches with two decimal places of accuracy. In this case 00.00 inches have accumulated meaning that the rain discussed earlier may have dried out or the sensor may be faulty. Note here that the measurement is a liquid equivalent. An inch of snow may not show as P0100 but an inch of rain will. Our other new section (RAB09E23) describes rain at the airfield. RA is a standard abbreviation for rain, the B stands for Began and the E for Ended. In this case RAin Began 09 minutes past the hour and Ended 23 minutes past the hour. Note the issue time for this METAR was 150351 Zulu so the hour this Rain report refers to would be 0300 on the 15th UTC or 11pm local time on the 14th in New York. Another form of rain report you might find can be seen in this example from Alice Springs in Australia. This form uses the code RF meaning Rainfall and shows firstly the amount of rainfall in millimetres in the last 10 minutes and second the amount of rain at the airfield since the last time it was 9am again in millimetres.
Thank you very much for your time! I hope you enjoy this video!
Wishing you all the best!
Your "Captain" Joe
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