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Compiled by Sqn Ldr S CHANDRA

Climate – long term aspect of weather.

Weather – physical state of atmosphere at any given time and place.
 WMO has 06 regional centres and eight technical commissions.
 Indian Met Deptt headed by Director General of Observatories at New Delhi.
 Admin, Instruments and Coordination/ Planning carried out at Delhi and Forecasting
and Climatology done from Pune. And IMD is divided into 05 regions.

SYNOPS – Made by surface observatories. Time 0530 and 1730 hrs. Manned by locally
trained operators. Approx 480 observatories.
METARs – once every hour. Also issue special messages called SPECIS. Manned by
trained personnel of IMD. Approx 73 observatories.
PILOTS – Wind speed and direction at different levels. Time is 0530 and 1730 and 2330 h.
54 PILOT Observatories.
RAWINS – upper winds by radio methods. Time is 0530 and 1730 hrs. 20 in no. approx.
tracking of balloons is done by radio methods.
TEMPS – Radiosonde observations observe PTH (Pressure, Temp and Humidity). Time is
0530 and 1730 h. limitation is to height of 20-25 Kms. Above that rockets are used. These
are launched from TERLS (Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station)
RAREPs – Weather radar observations for detecting thunderstorms. Bearing, distance and
vertical extent.
AIREPs – Weather reports made by aircraft on routine and non routine flights.

The WWW (World Weather Watch) consists of GOS (Global observing System), GTS
(Global Telecommunication System) and GDPS (Global Data Processing System).

Q codes
QAN - Surface wind QBB - Cloud type, amount & height of base
QNT - Max speed of gust QAM - Weather
QBA - Visibility QAO - Upper wind at specified level
QFE - Pressure at A/F level QNH - Alt setting.

SYNOPs are plotted on Surface Charts and RAWINs and PILOTs are plotted on Upper
Wind Charts.

Local Forecast – Area of 25 miles radius around AF. Valid for 6 – 12 hrs may give a
outlook for further 12 hrs.
Route or Flight forecasts – For specific flights issued on standard forms.
Terminal Forecasts(TAF) – issued for own & satellite A/F’s.
Area Forecasts – For specified areas issued on request for specific purposes..
Weather Wgs – Issued whenever adverse weather conditions expected at AF or nearby.
Trend Forecasts – Short range landing forecast. Valid for 2hrs. Only significant changes
indicated and are appended to METARs and SPECIs.
Atmospheric Pressure – The weight of vertical column of air standing on unit area and
extending vertically to the uppermost levels of the atmosphere.

Instruments for measuring

Pressure – Mercury Barometer.
Continuous record of pressure – Barograph.
Temperature – Thermometer. At low values of temperatures a grass minimum
thermometer is used at a height of 10 cms above the ground.
Continuous record of temperature – Thermograph.
Humidity – determining wet bulb temperature.
Continuous record of humidity – Hygrograph.
Wind direction – Wind Sock
Wind Speed – Anemometer installed at about 10 mts AGL.
Continuous record of wind direction and speed – Anemograph.
Height of cloud - Ceilometers
Visibility and RVR – Transmissometer and Skopograph
Rainfall – Raingauge
Snowfall - Snowgauge
Sunshine – Sunshine Recorder

Temperature Scales and Equivalents

Fahrenheit – Melting point 32 deg F and Boiling point 212 deg F
Celsius – Melting point 0 deg C and boiling point 100 deg C
Absolute – melting point 273 deg K and boiling point 373 deg K
F = 32 + (9/ 5) C
C = 5/9 (F-32)
A or K = 273 + C

 Thermometers are mounted on a standard screen at a height of 1.2 mts above

ground level.
 In Radiosonde observations upper air temperatures are also measured by bimetallic
 Aircraft temperature gauges are based on the principle of change in electrical
resistance with change in temperatures.
 RH - Ratio of actual amount of water vapour held to the amount required to reach
 Dew Point Temp - the temp to which the air must be cooled for it to reach
saturation at the existing pressure is called Dew Point Temp.
 Wet Bulb Temp – the lowest temp attained by the air when the water is freely
evaporated. It is normally intermediate between the wet bulb temp and dew point temp.
 In saturated air all these three are equal. i.e. Dry Bulb, Wet Bulb and Dew Point
 Humidity Mixing Ratio – Mass of water vapour contained in unit amount of air.
 The pressure of water vapour depends on the quantity of water and is a measure of
 A Psychrometer contains both wet bulb and dry bulb thermometers and is rotated for
03 Min before reading is taken.
 Humidity at upper levels determined by bi metallic coil and at times hygroscopic salt
is used.
 Irregular oscillation is called as gustiness.
In weather reports from ac cloud coverage is described as SCT, BKN, CNS (Continuous).
Height of base of cloud in all weather reports refers to height AGL.

An accumulation of 30 cms of snow equals approx 25 mm of rainfall.


(a) Strong & gusty surface winds (a) Strong & gusty winds.
(b) Raise & carry loose dust (b) Enormous dust raised to great hts.
(c) Red vis over large areas (c) Over limited area red
vis 2Km or less vis to 1Km or less
(d) Long durn – may last for days (d) Half to 1 hr - short durn
(e) No instability phenomenon (e) Instability phenomenon.

 Dust raising winds - Persistent strong winds due to steep pressure gradient, which
carry loose dust over large areas and lasting for long duration. Speed approx 25-30 kts
and visibility drops to about 2 Kms or less (extreme conditions 1000 mts or less). May
be carried vertically to height of 3-5 Kms.
 Dust Devil – whirl of dust of small dimensions moving randomly for short periods in
hot summer afternoons.
 Squall – sudden increase in wind speed to 25 kts or more accompanied by a drop in
temp and lasting for short periods.
 Sleet – mixture of rain and snow
 Ozone concentration between 30 – 50 Kms

 Troposphere – 11-16 Kms

 Stratosphere – 50 Kms but above Troposphere
 Mesosphere – 50-85 Kms
 Thermosphere – above 85 Kms.
 Tropopause equator – 16-18 Kms
 Tropopause poles – 8-10 Kms
 Stratosphere – temp inc with inc in height. Boundary called as Stratopause. Max
Ozone concentration which absorbs UV radiation hence temp increase.
 Mesosphere – above stratosphere. Temp decreases with height boundary called
Mesopause about 85 Kms where lowest temp in the atmosphere is found about (-90)
deg C
 Thermosphere also referred to as exosphere. Van Allen belts present at about 3000
Kms and 15000 Kms above earth. High intensity radiation
 Ionosphere – lower thermosphere. Highest concentration found in E layer 110 Kms
(Kennely Heaviside Layer), F1 and F2 layers (160 and 250 Kms)
 From a height of 20 – 30 Kms the temp rises at approx 1 deg C / Km and reaches -
44.5 deg C at 32 Kms
Indian Reference Atm
Sea level Temp +40deg C (ISA +25deg C)
Temp at 50000ft -65deg C (ISA – 8.5deg C)
Low – relatively low pressure region, closed by isobars where the pressure is the lowest.
Classified as Lows, Depressions, and Cyclones.
Secondary Low – a small low within the area covered by a larger one.
Trough of Low Pressure – isobars extending outward from a LP area such that the
pressure is lower in the trough than on two sides.
High – relatively high pressure closed by isobars where the pressure is the highest.
Ridge of High Pressure – isobars extending outwards from HP area such that the
pressure is higher in ridge than on either side.
Col – region of uniform pressure between two highs and two lows. Winds are weak and
 Static type systems are large dimension systems and show little change or
movement. Equatorial low and Siberian high are Static Systems.
 Migratory type are smaller in dimension and their life cycle is for few days.(develop,
move and decay) cyclones of tropical seas and depression are of this category.
 Broadly speaking, highs are associated with good weather and lows with rain, snow
and thunderstorm.

Horizontal change of pressure perpendicular to the isobars is called as pressure

gradient and is steep when isobars are close and gradual when isobars are far.
Development, decay, movement of pressure systems, and diurnal and seasonal
changes cause the pressure to change.
A change in pressure in a short interval of time is called as Pressure Tendency. In
tropics it is for 24 hrs and mid latitudes is for 3 hrs
Pressure Maxima at 1000 hrs and 2200 hrs and Minima at 0400 hrs and 1600 hrs.
Max range/ variation at Equator (3-4mbs) and negligible at poles.
0 – 600 mts – rate of fall of pressure is 4%
600 mts – 1.5 Kms - rate of fall of pressure is 3%
1.5 Kms – 3.0 Kms - rate of fall of pressure is 2.5%
At approx 6 Kms pressure is half of SL value
At 100 Kms pressure so less that it can be considered as vacuum.

Actual Height – Pressure altitude = D Value under ISA conditions. (Z-Zp). It is also
the difference between the pressure altitude and radio altimeter values.
Hystersis error/ lag is caused due to the imperfect elasticity of the aneroid element in
the pressure instrument and pronounced in rapid climbs and descents.
On landing back at the same airfield the altimeter will over read if the pressure has
decreased and under read if the pressure has increased.
Temperature error is less at lower levels and increases with height in pressure
Pressure Altitude – the altitude indicated by the ICAN altimeter when set to ISA
subscale of 1013.2mbs is called Pressure Altitude.
Altimeter correction (ALTICOR) is the difference between True Altitude and Indicated
altitude and is the same as D value but opposite in sign.
Calculation of TA -
Transition Altitude = E +1500 feet or E + H + 1000 feet. (rounded of to next 100 feet)
E= Airfield Elevation and H = highest obst’n height within 25 Nms.
Calculation of TLevel -
Transition level = TA + Pres correction + Temp correction (Round off to next 500 feet)
Pressure Correction = 30(1013.2 - lowest QNH) feet
Temperature correction = (TA + Pressure Correction) X (TICAN – T MIN)/ T MIN
TICAN = ICAN temp at aerodrome level
T MIN = Lowest surface min temp at aerodrome
Note – Temp correction not applied if T MIN is more than TICAN.
A state when all the molecules are at rest and no heat can be extracted is called as
Dead State and the temperature is called as Absolute Zero. (Possibly the lowest
temp that can be obtained). Reached at – 273.15 deg C.
Conduction – Physically transferred due contact. An important process close to ground.
Convection – Applies only to liquids & gases. Parcel of hot fluid bodily transferred to a
colder part. Important within atmosphere.
Advection – Heat transferred from one area to another through horizontal wind motion i.e.
bodily movement of air masses.
Radiation – Does not depend on any medium. Every body emits in the form of EM waves.
Amount of emission depends on temp being proportional to 4th power of temperature.
Amount of radiant energy absorbed depends upon substance.
Methods of heat transfer from earth to atmosphere are
(a) Convection.
(b) Advection.
(c) Latent heat of condensation of water vapour which has been transported upwards
The radiation from the sun is in short wavelengths and is reradiated by the earth in
longer wavelengths. The atmosphere gets heated by the Earth. Only Ozone can
absorb some amount of radiation
The rise in temperature by absorption is inversely proportional to the specific heat of
the substance, e.g. Water high Sp Heat – Low temp changes, Land Low Sp Heat –
High Temp changes
Ground temp may be more by about 10 deg C as compared to atmosphere in day
time and less by about 5 deg C at night time. Max temp occurs about 02 hrs after
midday and Min temp close to Sunrise.
Diurnal variation least over oceans and max in interior of continents and greatest
when sky clear and wind calm.
The lowest temperatures are found in the upper troposphere over the equator. The
Tropical Tropopause higher than Polar Tropopause by about 08 Kms.

Airfield Reference Temperature (ART) (Used when siting a R/W for construction).
ART = T1 + T2 – T1
where, T1 = Monthly mean of average daily temperature (all 24hrs) for the hottest
Month of the year.
T2 = Monthly mean of daily max temperature for the same month.

Any deviation of ART from ISA, runway length has to be corrected. Correction is an
increase of 1% of length for every 1 deg C that ART is higher than ISA at the level of the
For a given temperature and pressure, moist air has lower density than dry air.
Warm air is lighter than cold air.
Density Altitude – this is defined as the altitude in ISA at which the prevailing density
will be observed. Higher density altitude means lower density.
Density at 6.0 Kms is 50%, 12 Kms is 25 % and 20 Kms is 10% of Sea level value.
Density is lowest near the equator and greatest near the poles till 8.0 Kms. At 8.0
Kms it is nearly same at all latitudes. Above 8.0 Kms reversal takes place and
density at equator is more than density at poles. Hence, low altitude cruising ac
are more efficient at high latitudes and high altitude cruising ac are more
efficient at low latitudes.
Winds do not blow across the isobars. They blow parallel to the isobars, with the LP
area to the left in Northern hemisphere.
Buy Ballots Law - If an observer stands with his back to the wind then LP area is to
his left in Northern hemisphere and to his right in Southern hemisphere.
Apparent force which deflects the winds is called Coriolis force, and arises due to the
rotation of the earth. It deflects winds to the right in N hemisphere and to the left in S
hemisphere. Magnitude given by
F = 2 Ω V Sin Φ, where
Where Ω = angular velocity of earth
Φ = latitude and V = wind speed
The value of Coriolis force is small at the equator and high at the poles.
The direction of Coriolis force is perpendicular to and to the right of wind velocity.
Geostrophic Wind - Steady air – pressure gradient force and coriolis force equal
but opposite.
Hence, 2 Ω ρ V Sin Φ = P or V = P / 2 Ω ρ Sin Φ
This formula is not used close to equator and below 30 deg latitudes, but beyond 30 deg
latitude it gives a good approximation of the actual wind.
It can be seen that the speed of the Geostrophic Wind is proportional to the
pressure gradient and inversely proportional to the distance between isobars
and the Sine of the Latitude. Closer the isobars stronger the winds. Stronger at
lower latitudes and theoretically the speed of Geostrophic winds at equator is
Applies only when isobars are straight and parallel
Fixed pressure distribution and not rapidly changing
Steady horizontal air motion
Balance between Pressure gradient and Coriolis force. land and sea breeze
have adverse affects.
 The centripetal force which keeps the wind on a curved track relative to the earth is
called as Cyclostrophic force. Acts at right angles to the path of motion and is directed
towards the centre of curvature.
 Wind resulting from balance between Pressure gradient and cyclostrophic force is
called as Cyclostrophic wind. In tropical cyclone pressure gradient and cyclostrophic
force are of large magnitude. Coriolis force can be neglected.

Except in cyclones and tornadoes, Coriolis force must also taken into account. The wind
which results from a balance between Pressure Gradient, Coriolis force and Cyclostrophic
force is called as Gradient wind. Therefore can be calculated by formula
Vgr = Vg + - (V2/ 2r Ω Sin Φ)
When cyclonic reduce the factor, speed reduces and when anticyclonic add the factor
and speed increases. In cyclonic motion, Pressure Gradient and Cyclostrophic force act in
the same direction and balance the Coriolis force.
These are applicable only when the pressure pattern is steady.
Lines of equal pressure changes are called isallobars.
The effect of isallobaric force is to deflect the Geostrophic wind towards falling
The wind which results from a balance between Pressure Gradient, Coriolis force
and isallobaric force is called as Isallobaric wind.
Because of friction near the ground, the Coriolis force decreases.
Friction layer persists about 1 km above the ground.
A wind blowing along the mean isotherms, with the low temperature to the left in
Northern Hemisphere is called as Thermal Wind.
Veering – clockwise change in direction; Backing – anticlockwise change in
Gustiness and Turbulence are synonymous. Sudden increase called Gust and sudden
decrease called as Lull. Gustiness factor = Range of speed/ Average speed.
Squalls are usually accompanied by a sharp fall in temperature.
From Day to Night winds show Backing of about 20 deg.
Variation in wind speed at surface and above friction layer is more during the night. In clear
weather surface winds are stronger and have less deviation than at night.

Sea and Land breeze

Sea breeze – earth heats up faster than water during day. Air rises and pressure drops.
Cold air from sea moves towards land and sea breeze is established. The rising air over
land means cumulus development. More prominent than land breeze. Sets an hour or so
before noon. Sudden onset, sharp fall in temp and rise in humidity. Speed about 15 Kts and
may reach 30-35 Kts at times. If steep pressure gradient exists then sea breeze may be
delayed or may not set in at all resulting in oppressive conditions. Dies off an hour or two
after sunset. Penetrates about 25 miles generally.
Land Breeze – at night land cools faster than water. Colder region means higher pressure
and hence winds blow from land to sea. Rarely more than 07 Kts. Depth of air affected is
less than 200 mts. Increase in temperature and reduction of humidity.

Katabatic winds – down slope at night In early morning katabatic winds may cause
thundershowers in monsoons and fog in winters.
Wind blowing along contours, when encounters a valley the wind velocity increases.
Channelling of winds through valleys is known as funnel effect.
Warm, dry, descending air (high rate) on leeward side known as Fohn Winds.
Elephanta - S/ SE winds of peninsular Indian west coast at the end of SW monsoon.
Loo – W/ NW winds, hot, dry, dust laden, gusty and strong winds in pre monsoon season.
Mistral – Strong N’ly winds, reinforced by katabatic winds from mountains in Gulf of Lyons
and originating from France. Cold dry winds with clear weather.
Bora – NE winds in the east and north of Adriatic sea, similar to Mistral. May bring rain.
Sirocco – Hot, dry, dust laden southerly winds blowing from South Africa.
Chinook – Fohn type winds in the lee of Rockies.
Khamsin – Hot and dry southerly winds over Egypt in spring season.

Layer in which temp constant – Isothermal layer.

Layer in which temp increases with ht – Temperature inversion.
When no loss or gain of heat is involved then it is Adiabatic process.
DALR – 9.8deg C per Km. This means that the air is unsaturated.
SALR is less than DALR why? When the air rises the temperature drops. At certain
level condensation takes place which liberates latent heat, and hence the air gains
some amount of heat or the temp drop is offset to certain extent.
Lower the temperatures lower the water vapour content. Thus, at low values of
temperatures (below minus 40 deg C) SALR approaches the value of DALR. Normal
value of SALR is 5 deg C/ Km at sea level.
Potential Temp – Temp that a parcel of air of unsaturated air would attain when
brought adiabatically to a pressure of 1000 mb. So potential temperature of a sample
of air remains constant during an adiabatic process.
ELR generally lies between DALR and SALR and is closer to SALR.
Layer in which lapse rate is zero or negative (inversion), has absolute stability. If a Super
adiabatic lapse rate exists, then it is absolute instability.

Dry air stable when ELR < DALR.

Dry air unstable when ELR > DALR.
Sat air stable when ELR < SALR.
Sat air unstable when ELR > SALR.
Air whether dry/sat is stable when ELR < SALR.- Absolute stability.
Air unstable when ELR > SALR.- Absolute instability.
Conditional stability – SALR < ELR < DALR. Air stable w.r.t dry air & unstable with
respect to sat air.

(a) Hundreds of Sq Km. (a) Few Sq Km.
(b) Pressure system (cyclone/anticyclone) (b) Friction effects.
(c) Frontal System (c) Ground contours.
(d) Unequal heating of ground.
If temperature increases/ inversion layer, then wind flows round the hill.
If the lapse rate is steep, then wind easily goes over the top of hills.
When lapse rate is stable airflow is affected to four times the height of hills.
If hill slope is steep & wind strong > 20 Kts, Eddies formed on either side.
Mountain waves are also called as Standing waves or lee waves. Unlikely to form if the
lapse rate at the mountain top is steep.
(a) Net outflow from area. (a) Net flow of air into region
(b) In lower levels of troposphere leads to (b) Air accumulated. Got rid of by vertical
subsidence motion (near ground upwards, just below
(c) Associated with highs & ridges. tropopause downwards).
(d) Fair & settled weather. (c) Associated with lows/depressionss.
(d) Weather phenomenon severe.
Large scale descending air is subject to adiabatic heating and causes inversion of
temperature called as Subsidence Inversion.
Boundaries between two air streams called Front in mid latitudes & Discontinuities
in the tropics.
Reasons for vertical motion of air (also provide initial lift often called Triggering action) :
Mechanical turbulence due to ground friction.
Thermal turbulence due to unequal ground heating.
Convection currents due to marked heating of ground.
Sloping ground contours.
Standing waves on lee side.
Convergence/ divergence associated with press systems.
Ascent of air over sloping boundaries at fronts.
If all impurities removed from air & then it is cooled, condensation does not occur
even below dew point, because water vapour requires nuclei for condensation.
Condensation nuclei are often Hygroscopic.
The level in the atmosphere at which saturation is reached during adiabatic ascent
and condensation takes place is called as Lifting Condensation Level.
Transformation of water vapour directly into solid (ice crystal form) is called as
Sublimation. Ice crystals formed by sublimation is called as Frost and the
saturation temperature is called as Frost Point temperature.
Supercooled - they are so called because they are in liquid from even below 0 deg C and
they are in an unstable form, they freeze as soon as they come in contact with a solid
Clouds formed above Freezing level are composed of supercooled droplets. Further up, ice
crystals coexist with supercooled droplets and below –40 deg C clouds are mainly made up
of ice crystals
Clouds Classification.
High 5 – 18 Km 16 – 60,000 ft Ci, Cc, Cs
Med 2 – 8 Km 6 – 25,000 ft Ac, As
Low Surf – 2 Km 0 – 6500 ft Ns, Sc, St
Vertical development Base 0.5 – 2 Km
Tops upto 18 Km (55,000) or more. Cu, Cb
Fracto clouds – broken / ragged indicative of turbulence at base of cloud.
Castellatus - Ac and Sc having turetted structure. Indicates instability at higher levels
Lenticular - lens shaped near mountain tops or on leeward side. Indicates wave crest.
Line Squall Clouds – Roll clouds slightly ahead of Cb. Approach indicates impending
severe squalls/ Thunderstorms.
Rotor Clouds – Roll type on lee side of the mountains – severe turbulence.
Theories Of Pptn
Ice Crystal Theory – Clouds above FL. Super cooled drops + ice. Due to evaporation &
sublimation, ice crystals grow. As they fall more water attaches. Fall as snow/rain.
Coalescence Theory – From clouds not above FL. Large drops formed by collision &
coalescence of smaller drops. Coalescence increases and large drops formed fall out as
Giant Nucleus Theory – Maritime area clouds of lesser vertical extent as compared to
over, land give rain. Giant nuclei in form of sea spray, carried to cloud – initiate chain
reaction of coalescence.
Stratus – drizzle.
As or Ns – rain (med size drops).
Cumulus/CB – large shower drops / hail.
Cu of slight vertical development, Ac & Cirro clouds not capable of giving rise to
Most precipitation due convection, in coastal areas/ valleys max rain at night/early
morning hours, but elsewhere afternoon & early part of night. Rain in summer more
than winters.
A/c not affected by lightning strike because it is bonded.
Fly above 25,000 ft as below that lot of bumpiness.
Hail – outer layer glazed ice – inner layer opaque rime.
Snow and Sleet
If Surface Temp less than 0 deg C and Mean temp between surface and base of cloud less
than 0 deg C, then precipitation in form of snow/ sleet. If mean temp between surface and
base of cloud close to 0 deg C then in from of snow only.
Thunderstorms – one or more convective cells in which electrical discharges are seen as
lightening or heard as thunder.
Favourable conditions are –
(i) Lapse rate steeper than SALR atleast 5-6 Kms depth so that clouds can develop to
heights at which temp is less than 0 deg C.
(ii) Adequate supply of moisture from below
(iii) Triggering mechanism producing saturation in the steep lapse rate region.

Triggering mechanism
FLOCR – F – Frontal Lifting
L – Local Convection
O – Orographic lifting
C – Convergence
R – Radiational/ Katabatic cooling
Life Cycle
Cumulus stage – when one or more start to grow into a big one. Base may go upto 8 Kms.
Mostly updraught with speed of 100 feet / sec. inflow from all sides and bottom also. Max
updraught in the centre at the top portions.
Mature Stage – begins with fall of precipitation. Downdraughts also exist now. Stable air as
ELR is less than SALR and hence it continues move down on its own. Dndraught Speed
about 40 feet / sec and updraught coexist.
Dissipating Stage – dndraught more and updraught less in the lower portions specially.
Later full lower portion dndraught and upper portion updraught. Top spreads outwards
giving anvil shape or false cirrus.
 For normal air for spark to pass requires 3 X10 6 volts/ metre but in clouds it reduces
to 1 X106 volts/ metre. Upper portion has positive charge and lower portion has negative
charge. Lightening dimensions are approximately 1-4 Kms long and diameter of 1-10
 The Norwesters and Kalbaisakhis take place in Bihar and West Bengal regions, the
primary cells developing over Chhotanagpur regions.
 Average heights of thunder cells about 10-15 Kms and max 18-20 Kms. Base
usually 1 Km but may come down to about 300 mts in monsoon time.
 Highest squall speed in the direction of storm movement and lowest in the opposite
direction. Summer Squalls more violent than other season squalls. Surface pressure
increases by about 2-3 mb with onset of squall.
 In India thunderstorms are triggered by Solar Heating and insolation. Hence max
frequency in afternoon in summer. In valleys max at night and min at daytime is due to
katabatic winds assisting lifting at night.
General Points
(i) Fly below freezing level or above 25,000 feet. These Best regions wrt bumpiness, hail
and icing.
(ii) Safe penetration speed is about 1.6 times the stalling speed in clean configuration.

 Water spouts – a phenomenon in which, due to the existence of favourable

conditions for formation of tornadoes the water or sea spray is sucked up reaching the
base of the cloud is called as water spout.
Optical Phenomena
 Rainbow – Arc of circle of coloured light whose centre is in line with observers’ eye
& sun. It subtends an angle of 42 degree at the eye. Bow results from refraction of the
sun’s rays both on entering & leaving a raindrop, together with one total internal
reflection. Colours occur due to diff angles of refraction for each colour, red on outside
to violet on inside (VIBGYOR). Large drops better rainbow. Secondary rainbow
concentric with primary, radius at about 52degree and colours in reversed order.
 Halo – produced by reflection and refraction of sunlight and moonlight by prismatic
ice crystals. Most common is circle of light of angular radius 22 deg around sun or
moon. The presence of Halo signifies the presence of ice crystals in clouds and hence
negligible chances of ice accretion.

 Corona – luminous rings of various radii surrounding the sun or moon due to
presence of thin altostratus clouds and diffraction of light by water droplets. Usually dull
and red on outside and blue on inside. Radius of corona is inversely proportional to
radius of water drop. Hence coronae with small angular radii are indicative of moderate
icing, if cloud above Freezing level.
 Mirage – optical phenomenon near ground and depends on the lapse rate near the
ground. Inferior mirage is not well defined although image is inverted. May shimmer due
to turbulence. Superior Mirage is well defined as the lapse rate is stable; image usually
inverted but sometimes may be erect as well. Appears below the object.
General Points regarding visibility
Horizontal visibility is reported which is different than slant/ vertical visibility.
Met reports the lowest visibility observed in all directions.
Slant Visibility is always less than vertical visibility.
RVR – the maximum distance that a pilot can see in the T/O or landing direction on a
runway from a specified point above the ground on the centre line from a height of about
05 mts. RVR is determined only when the visibility is 1500 mts or less.
In smoke haze generally visibility is 2-4 Kms and may reduce to 1 km or less in
extreme cases.
Radiation fog – cooling of ground by loss of heat by radiation at night. For radiation fog to
form a balance is required between rate of cooling and spreading of the cooling upwards by
the turbulent mixing air. Favourable conditions are –
High relative Humidity
Clear sky
Light winds of order of approx 5 kts
Both Radiation fog and smoke haze may coexist and then they are called SMOG.
Brahmaputra valley – katabatic winds assist the formation of radiation fog.
Generally height of approximately 1000 mts, which is the limit for frictional
turbulence. Liable to form if winds less than 10 kts and rarely forms when winds
more than 15 kts. Most frequent around sunrise because temp lowest and freshening
of air takes place. If favourable conditions exist, then may form 1-2 hrs before
sunrise and thickens at sunrise but dissipates about 2 hrs after sunrise. In India it is
a winter hazard.
Advection fog – Warm moist air moving over cold ground.
Steaming fog – sea fog/ sea smoke. Evaporation of water from warm sea surface to cold
overlying air. Usually high latitudes. Favourable conditions are – low prevailing air mass
temperature and high humidity
Frontal fog – also called upslope fog. Very low clouds near frontal surface.
Smoke haze – Visibility less than 1 km but RH less than 75%.
Upslope Fog – Low level saturation due to continuous rain ahead of frontal boundary
Formation of low clouds – high humidity and radiational cooling present but wind speed
more than 8 kts then no fog formation. But because of cooling and adiabatic ascent,
saturation may take place and clouds may form at about 100 mts height. Also when fog lifts
up low clouds form but transform into Sc 2-3 hrs after sunrise.
Light rain – No effect on visibility.
Moderate rain – 3-5 kms visibility
Heavy rain – less than 1000 mts.
Drizzle – 2-4 kms but may reduce to 500 mts also at times.
Synoptic Map – a map showing the weather conditions at any given time over a large
geographical area is called as synoptic map.
Main synoptic hours are – 0000, 0300, 0600, 1200 and 1800 hrs GMT. In India 0300
hrs GMT is treated as main synoptic hour since all rainfall are recorded for 24 hr
period ending with 0300 hrs GMT.
For charts covering Indian area and immediate neighbourhood, Mercator projection
is used for synoptic charts and standard parallel is 22 ½ deg latitude. For larger
areas Polar stereographic with standard parallel at 60 deg or Lamberts conformal
with parallel at 30 deg and 60 deg may be used.
Station Model – the arrangement of figures and symbols around the station circle following
a standard pattern is called as Station Model.
In representing clouds in station model, if low clouds predominate then Black
shading is done and when medium and high clouds then Red shading is done.
Wind speed – Long line/ barb – 10 kts, Small line/ barb – 5 kts, Pennant/ triangle –
50 kts. All are rounded of to nearest multiple of 5 kts. Lines/ barbs and pennants are
drawn to the left of direction line in Northern hemisphere and to the right in Southern
Pressure change is plotted in Black when it is positive and Red when it is negative.
All changes as a general rule are plotted in Black if positive and in Red if negative.
Rainfall plotted in green ink.
In met reports received the pressure values exceeding 1000 mbs are reported by
omitting the first two figures.
A closed Low (Cyclonic circulation) is marked as L in red ink and a closed High (Anti-
cyclonic circulation) is marked as H in blue ink. A depression and cyclonic storm will
be marked in red.
Colour codes – Station Model
Drizzle rain/ shower/ snow – Green
Thunderstorm – Red
Fog/ Mist/ Moist haze – Yellow
Dust haze/ DRW/ Dust storm – Brown.
Streamline – a line which is tangential to the direction of flow of wind at every point.
Discontinuity – a narrow zone where persistently opposing wind meet is called as
Discontinuity. Also, narrow zones where streamlines from two opposing directions
terminate. Marked by Bold dashed line.
Isotachs - Lines joining places of equal wind speed. Drawn as light broken line. Lower level
not significant but must be plotted for higher levels.
Isohygric – lines of equal saturation mixing ratio.
Contours – lines of constant heights.
Prontours – Contours on forecast or prognostic charts are called as Prontours.
Isotherms – lines of equal temperature.
Isallobars – lines of equal pressure changes.
Isotach gradient – the rate of variation of wind speed at right angles to isotach.
Horizontal wind shear - the rate of variation of speed at right angles to streamline.
When the isotachs and streamlines are parallel then both Isotach gradient and
Horizontal wind shear are equal.
Diagrams in which temperature and humidity are plotted against height in the
atmosphere are called as Thermodynamic diagrams.
T – Φ Gram – Temperature (T) on X axis and Entropy (Φ) on Y axis.
Entropy – a Thermo dynamical property which remains constant in an adiabatic process.
In a T – Φ Gram Equal entropy lines (isentropic) parallel to potential temp lines (dry
Make up of a Tephi Gram diagram
Horizontal lines – Dry Adiabats
Vertical lines – Isotherms
Lines sloping left – Pressure lines at 10 mb intervals.
Curves sloping right – Saturated Adiabats become almost parallel to Dry Adiabats at low
Straight lines sloping right – Humidity Mixing ratio
Normand’s Theorem is used for the calculation of Wet Bulb temperature in a
T – Φ diagram. It states that if we produce the Dry adiabat from dry bulb temp, Saturated
adiabat from wet bulb temp and isohygric from dew point temp, then all will meet at a point
called the Normands’ point.

Lifting Condensation Level – condensation level for adiabatic ascent of parcel of air in a
layer. This gives an approximate estimate of the base of daytime convective clouds like Cu.
Temperature at different heights, Temperature at different levels, Freezing level, Alticor,
Tropopause, Mintra level, Lifting condensation level, Stability of layer.
Departure – The difference between the actual on any day and the corresponding five day
period is called as departure.

Sun temperature is 6000 deg C. distance from earth is 63 X 10 6 miles. Suns radiation
in form of short waves and earths radiation in form of long waves. Insolation depends
on angle of incidence and duration
Earth rotates once about its axis in 23 h 59 min and 48 secs.
Orbits around the sun in 365 ¼ days. Hence in a year it rotates 365 ¼ times about its
Plane of Ecliptic – imaginary plane passing through the sun and all points on the earths’
Axis of Rotation has fixed inclination of about 66 ½ deg to the plane of Ecliptic or 23
½ deg to the vertical. This means that the axis at any time during the revolution is
parallel to the position that is occupied at any previous stage. This is called as
parallelism of axis.
Equinox – 21 March and 23 September. Sun rays vertical at equator. Days and nights are
equal. Equi – equal and Nox – nights.
Solstices – 22 June and 22 December. Earth midway its orbit between the equinoxial
In summer days are longer and nights are shorter. North of arctic circle constant
Out of the 65% of the solar radiation received at the outer portions of the earth,
14% absorbed by atmosphere and 51% by the earth surface. The balance of 35% is
returned to space as short wave radiation. Terrestrial heat balance means that the
balance is maintained between the incoming radiation and long wave radiation by
the earth.
In low latitudes, below 37 deg on either side, the incoming radiation exceeds the
outgoing radiation, resulting in latitudinal heat imbalance.
The pressure belts of northern hemisphere are broken into cells because it has
almost equal proportion of Landmass and oceans. Whereas in southern hemisphere
the pressure belts are continuous as it has more of oceans than landmass.
The trade winds are the steadiest wind patterns known on earth and they are NE in
northern hemisphere and SE in southern hemisphere, this is due to Coriolis force.
Above 30 deg N and S they become westerlies on both sides and above 60 deg N
and S they become easterlies.
Air Mass - a vast body of air whose physical properties are more or less uniform in the
horizontal, though abrupt changes may be observed along its boundaries.
Types of Air masses
Arctic , Polar Continental and Polar Maritime (Pc and Pm), Tropical continental and Tropical
Maritime (Tc and Tm), and Equatorial maritime (Em). Suffix of W or K is added depending
on whether the air mass is warmer or colder than the underlying air/ surface. Pc K would
mean polar continental air, colder than underlying surface. The designator ‘n’ is prefixed in
case the air mass is transitional in nature.
Air masses over Indian region
Tropical Maritime Air (Tm) – Origin north pacific. Over India in monsoon season (June –
Sep). At source has high temp, high RH & high dew pt. Retains these characteristics as it
moves eastwards. Characterized by good visibility, large range of temp, Cu clouds with
some showers and thunderstorms. Tm air may occur in other seasons in association with
depressions/ cyclones especially over south peninsula.
Tropical Continental Air (Tc) – Origin Siberia. Most common. Winter season over full
country. Cold dry current referred to as NE monsoon. Mod vis. Less moisture. Monsoon
season confined to NW India. In pre-monsoon gets heated + sea travel – unstable lower
layers – instability phenomenon dust storms/ thunderstorms.
Polar Continental Air (Pc) – Cold & dry, infrequent over northern India in winters at rear of
strong depressions. Gives rise to severe cold waves.
Equatorial Maritime Air (Em) – Origin sub tropic high of Indian Ocean south of Equator.
Over India South of 25deg N in SW monsoon season. Occasional intrusion over extreme
south in winter. Cool & humid. Cu clouds, good vis. Diurnal range of temp small.
Widespread showers & squally weather. T/S rare except during first advance and during
fresh revivals.
Convergence process making the front surface sharper is called Frontogenesis,
and divergence process diffusing and widening the front is called Frontolysis.
Warm front has slope of approx 1:100 or 1:150. Warm air upglides. Adiabatic cooling takes
place resulting in cloud formation. Rainfall continuous from 300 kms onwards till front
surface is reached, where it ceases abruptly. On crossing the wind veers and air temp and
dew point increase. Pressure becomes more or less steady.
Cold Front - Steeper slope approx 1:50. Cb and thunderstorms common. Weather spread
over short area as compared to warm front. Tendency of retardation near the surface. After
front passes clouding and rain cease rapidly, pressure rises steeply, wind veers and temp
and dew point fall.
Occlusion – the process of merging of warm and cold fronts is called as occlusion.

Element In Advance During Passage In the rear
Pressure Falls Fall ceases Steady
Wind Backs Veers Steady
Temperature Steady Rises Steady
Dew point Rises in rain Rises Steady
Clouds Ci, Cs, As, Ns Low Ns and Fs Rapid clearance,
some Sc or St
Weather Continuous rain/ snow Sudden cessation Fair, at times drizzle/

Element In Advance During Passage In the rear
Pressure Steady then falls Sudden rise Rises steadily but
Wind Backs becomes squally Sudden veering; Squally After squall veers
Temperature Steady Sudden Fall Steady
Dew point Steady
Avoidance of fronts
These are encountered at levels below 6 kms. As FL increased above 6 kms effect of fronts
reduces. Flights in regions of warm fronts at high levels present no problem. In cold front
few Cb can be seen and avoided.
Western disturbance
Eastward moving upper air troughs in the zonal sub tropical westerlies.
Extend to lower troposphere in north latitudes of India in winter season and give rise
to cyclonic circulation.
Originate in the Atlantic or Mediterranean regions and are extra-tropical type of
cyclones. Modified by the mountains of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, thereby
becoming in occluded form.
They come farthest south in mid winter season.
Some of the disturbances after getting broken up by the Pakistan hills, move
eastwards towards as far as Assam and Burma.
Over NW India they revive and intensify due to moisture incursion from Arabian Sea.
Weather sequence - Western Disturbances
In Advance
Pressure - Gradual fall Temperature Rises Winds Back, both at upper and lower levels
and have southerly component Clouding Extensive; sequence of clouding is Ci, Cs, As, Ns
and small parts of Cu and Cb Rainfall Light rain/ drizzle within the warm front and
intermittent rain in warm sector.
During Passage
Heavy showers with T/S and Hail during passage for short duration.
In the rear
Weather clears up with passage; pressure rises and temperature falls. In the wake cold dry
continental modified polar air sets in causing cold wave.
Immediately after the passage of cold front and setting of continental northerlies
favourable conditions exist for Radiation Fog.
Common boundaries between the air masses in the tropics are called as Discontinuity or
Convergence zone. Stable Discontinuity in case the streamlines in the air masses are
parallel. Generally free from towering clouds. Wind shear may give rise to As clouds.
Active Discontinuity is when the two air masses converge on to the discontinuity. Cloud
from overcast to fair convective clouds. Most of the discontinuities are zones of
convergence but some are not.
Slope of Discontinuity
Discontinuity when E-W oriented then angle of slope = latitude.
The slope becomes steeper and steeper as we move northwards from the equator. When
Discontinuity is oriented N-S then slope is vertical.
ITCZ – Inter Tropical Convergence Zone
One type of tropical discontinuity, but between air masses of different hemispheres.
Also called as Equatorial Convergence Zone.
Tm and/ or Tc air mass to the north and Tm and Em air to the south. Tm and Tc originate in
northern hemisphere and Tm and Em originate in southern hemisphere. Lies in the LP belt
near the equator and marks the axis of equatorial trough. It has seasonal oscillations.
When active extends from 75 – 150 kms. High density of Cb clouds and heavy showers.
Tops may reach 18 kms or higher. As and Ac found on either side. When inactive it is
wider and diffused. Cu predominates and light showers. Cb is rare. Tops generally 3-5 kms
and may reach 6 kms maximum. As and Ac on either side with fair weather Cu. It is marked
by two lines on Synoptic charts, distance between them indicating the width.
Peninsular discontinuity – forms south of 23 deg latitude in summer months.
Discontinuity between hot and dry Tc from North India and cooler moist air from Bay of
Bengal. Gives rise to afternoon thunderstorms, with hail at times. Nwly squalls and heavy
showers accompany. Remains stationary for 3-4 days before dissipating.
Shear line – A streamline across which the wind speed is changing rapidly. South of shear
line Em is strong speed approx 40 Kts. To the North shear line is weak speeds 15 Kts. This
type exists from surface to 2-3 kms height.
The worst sector for flying in a depression in the ITCZ is the sector immediately East of
trough line.
The favourable conditions for the formation of tropical depression over sea are
Existence of adequate moisture
Presence of Tc air in the circulation
Fresh surge in the Em air
Tropical cyclones called as
Cyclone – Indian region and South Pacific.
Typhoon – western Pacific.
Willy Willy – Australia.
Hurricane – Atlantic and east pacific.
Rarely form within 5 deg of equator on either side.
Originate over warm ocean surfaces where sea temperature is 27 deg C or more.
Peak months for formation are Aug–Sept in North hemisphere and Feb-Mar in South
hemisphere. In India generally form in Apr-May and Oct-Nov. initially they have Cold
Core and later they transform into Warm Core when it is fully fledged cyclone. Core
temperature about 10 deg warmer than surroundings, but above this it is colder than
surroundings. Life span generally about 6 days, may last for 2 weeks also. Fully
developed cyclone has – 150-1000 kms across, 10-18 kms high, spiralling around
the centre, speed 300-500 kms per day. Centre pressure approx 70 mb less than
periphery pressure. Speed of winds in the main storm is of the order of 100 -120 kts.
Ocean waters affected to heights of 20 mts above (waves) and below the surface.
Stages of formation.
Formative stage – winds become variable with squalls and thunder rain over large
areas. Pressure falls and winds strengthen. Also called unsettled conditions.
Developing Stage – Pressure fall continues and winds speed increase further.
Winds of hurricane force form around centre and rainfall and clouding gets organised
into spiralling bands.
Mature Stage – pressure fall and wind speed increase cease. Circulation expands.
Calm or central eye – 0-20 kms. Calm or very light winds. Clear to partly
cloudy skies. Lowest pressure.
Inner ring of Hurricane winds – 50-60 kms width, violent squalls and
torrential rains, wind speed 64 kts or more, it has the eye wall - most dangerous part
of the storm.
Outer storm area – wind speed gale force, 22-47 kts, extending 400 kms,
spiral bands of rain, winds decrease outwards, stronger winds occur to the right of
cyclone track.
Outer most area of weak cyclonic circulation or edge.
Dissipating stage – decaying phase. When it enters land. Moisture cut off and
frictional effects make the system weak, rainfall may continue for a day or two.
In lower latitudes cyclone moves W to NW and as it goes to higher latitudes it recurves
towards E and NE.
The central vortex has slow descending air, periphery around the vortex has vigorously
ascending air.
The average life span of an Indian cyclone is 3-4 days and sometimes 6-7 days, even in the
case of recurving storms. The most severe cyclones occur in the pre and post monsoon
season. Lowest central pressure recorded till date is 921 mb in Orissa cyclone in 1885. The
number of storms is the least in winter. South most origin latitude is 5 deg N and North most
is 25 deg N.