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Weather Symbols Lab Activity


									           Meteorology Lab Activity: Interpreting Surface Observation Symbols

Routine surface meteorological observations are represented on weather maps by a standard notation of
symbols and numbers. In order to correctly interpret the data, it is important to understand what types
of data the different numbers and symbols represent. This skill is not only important for reporting
weather conditions for a given station, but also for determining the positions of significant
meteorological features like air mass fronts.

The purpose of this activity is to introduce these reporting symbols and how to extract information
about temperature, dew point temperature, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, pressure and current

Weather Symbols
Part I - Components of the Observation Symbol:
  1. Fill in the blanks of the diagram to indicate what type of meteorological data is represented by
       each location.
   Use the map of surface observations to answer the following questions.

Example: #1: Denver, CO – Light Rain, 30°F, Dew point 28°F, Pressure 1007.4 mb, Skies Overcast,
Wind 23-27 knots from the Northeast

1) What is the temperature in Des Moines, Iowa?

2) What is the dew point temperature in Phoenix, Arizona?

3) What is the pressure in Dallas, Texas?

4) What is the report of cloud cover in Chicago, Illinois?

5) What is the report of current weather (weather symbol) in Casper, Wyoming?
6) What is the speed and direction of the wind in Miami, Florida?

Part III - At Home Internet Activity
Reporting Current Weather Conditions:
Apply what you have learned to real-time weather data. Go to WeatherUnderground
( and type in the zip code for Muscatine, IA (52761). Construct a surface
observation weather symbol recording weather data given. List the latest observations for
       1.     temperature
       2.     dew point temperature
       3.     cloud cover
       4.     pressure
       5.     current weather
       6.     wind direction and speed.

Then complete similar diagram for the follow cities:

Chicago, IL (60601)

Seattle, WA (98101)

Washington, D.C. (20001)

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