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RTC – MOD-08 – Pt.09 – METAR

The way an airport reports its weather in written abbreviated form is known as a METAR (Meteorological Aviation Report). This report can be generated by human meteorologists or automatically by a weather station.

This is how a typical METAR looks like:

UGTB 161430Z 33018KT 9999 -SN FEW048 BKN063 04/M04 Q1019 NOSIG

Let’s dissect it into the different blocks:

  • UGTB designates the ICAO code of the airfield, in this example: Tblisi Intl. Airport, Georgia
  • 161430Z is the date and time when this report was generated. 16th day of the current month, 1430Z (UTC)
  • 33018KT is the current surface wind reading: 330° 18kt as explained in Pt.02
  • 9999 is the visibility in meters, so 10Km or more as explained in Pt.03
  • -SN indicating light snow, as explained in Pt. 04
  • FEW048 BKN063 are cloud designators: FEW (1-2 oktas) at 4800ft QFE, BKN (5-6 oktas) at 6300ft QFE as explained in Pt.05
  • 04/M04 are temperature and dew point as explained in Pt.06
  • Q1010 is the QNH as explained in Pt. 07
  • NOSIG tells us that there’s no significant changes within the next two hours

Now let’s have a closer look at how different Wind readings are given in METAR. It can indicate both gusts as well as variable direction, so it could read either:
33018G36KT, with mean wind speeds of 18kt and gusts up to 36kt
33003KT 290V010 with mean wind direction from 330°, variable between 290° and 010°

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