Weather Briefing Blog

Posts covering a variety of weather related topics are added periodically. Learn about weather events, weather forecasting, and the science of meteorology. For now the posts are not broken into age categories. You will need to scroll through the list to find posts of interest to you.

Weather Briefing Store

Our online store currently offers the Weather Briefing Cloud Identification Chart and Cloud Collection Note Cards. We also offer free digital products for download that include weather observation forms and plotting maps at no charge. Look for weather instrumentation in the future. 

Cloud Atlas

The Weather Briefing online Cloud Atlas includes images of cloud types recognized by the World Meteorological Organization. Use the atlas to identify clouds based on their form, shape, and texture.  The Atlas is under construction.


The Station Model Plot is the standard format for displaying observations on weather maps. The plot arranges weather data into a grouping around each weather station location. Learn how to decode surface observations by clicking on the link below. You can practice by reading plots on weather maps that include plotted data. Learn the fundamentals of decoding surface plots by clicking on the button below and scrolling down the page. Upper air station plots use a similar but not identical format. The upper air format will be added in the near future.

Surface maps on the internet may include station model plots or only high and low pressure centers and fronts. Those that include station plots often use a modified plotting format that does not plot all of the observation data. With the advent of automatic weather stations some of the data, such as cloud types, are no longer available. Typically, temperature, dew point, pressure, cloud coverage, current weather, wind direction and wind speed are included. By becoming familiar with the complete standard plot you will be able recognize what data is missing.

If you scroll up this page and view the background graphic behind the title you will see station model plots on a weather map published in the 1960s. The plots include, going counter-clockwise from the upper left of the station circle; temperature, dew point, pressure tendency, pressure, and cloud type. The cloud coverage is found inside the station circle and the wind direction and speed is shown using a line and “flag” extending from the circle.

Your Weather Briefing

The following links provide worldwide weather information from a variety NOAA/NWS, international, and other weather sources. The information ranges from public forecasts and discussions to technical data used by professionals. When looking at plotted maps it is helpful to understand station model plots. In general, plots from USA sources use a mixture of English and Metric units. Surface data includes temperature in Fahrenheit, wind in knots, pressure in millibars, visibility in miles, ceilings in feet. Upper air temperatures are plotted in degrees Celsius, wind in knots, height in decameters, and dew point depression in degrees Celsius.

Categories of Links

USA - Northern Hemisphere Observations/Maps: A variety of plotted and analyzed weather maps. (See “Learn to Decode Station Model Plots” above.)
National and International Weather Portals:
USA, Canada, and worldwide weather forecasts and much more!
Forecasts: Mid-range and long-range outlooks.
Forecast Centers: Forecast center websites, forecast maps, and weather forecast computer model output.
Climate Product and Data: Long-range outlooks and archived data.
Observations and Remote Sensing: Raw data, radar, and satellite imagery
Education and News: Articles, news, and other information of interest.
Instrumentation: Types of weather instrumentation and exposure guidelines.

Browse each category and explore the information. Many links within a category lead to other weather information sources . For example, the weather portals point to far more than weather forecasts. Basic data, imagery, and maps are also available. Look for these options to find additional products. Links are being added regularly.

The links below are provided for educational purposes. Weather Briefing L.C. has no control over the content provided by the websites and makes no guarantee regarding the timeliness, usefulness, or accuracy of the data. The user is solely responsible when using the information.


What’s New Here

Installation of the USCRN (United States Climate Reference Network) weather station network began in 2005. By 2008 114 stations spread over the contiguous 48 states was completed. Today there are also two stations in Hawaii with on-going deployment of 29 stations in Alaska. The stations are located in natural environments which are representative of the surrounding terrain and vegetation. The siting of the stations is critical for collecting comparable data that measures changes in climate. This is different than measuring urban temperatures. The new network is expected to remain free of contamination (urban or other development) for many decades. The following statement from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information explains the purpose of the new network:

“The vision of the USCRN program is to maintain a sustainable high-quality climate observation network that 50 years from now can with the highest degree of confidence answer the question: How has the climate of the Nation changed over the past 50 years?”

By contrast, data from the original climate network in the United States is no-longer adequate to meet this goal. It has been contaminated by urbanization, the addition, removal, and moving of stations and changing equipment. Many of the stations do not meet the standards necessary to collect comparable research quality data needed to determine regional or global climate changes. Urbanized stations generally record warmer temperatures than their rural counterparts and the errors over time tend to increase due to changing urban micro-climates. Micro-climate changes are influenced more by changes in land use than global or regional temperature changes. Climate changes in temperature are masked by changes in land use.

There is another network that began installation in 2009 - the U.S. Regional Climate Reference Network (USRCRN). It was deployed in the southwestern U.S. region from 2009 - 2011 and is designed to provide a denser network of stations. Data is no-longer available from this network. Other regional networks are planned but there is no set date for completion. For now the project has been halted.

Where in the world do you want to view the International Space Station?

How to Use Weather Forecasts

Weather Portals:
International & United States

Environment Canada
Forecasts and more…

USA National Weather Service
Forecasts and more

World Meteorological Organization
Forecasts and more…

USA - Northern Hemisphere

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United States

Climate Products & Data

Climate Prediction & Data

Climate Prediction & Data

observations & Trends

observations & Trends

Short and Long Term Connections

Short and Long Term Connections


Cotton Region Shelter

Cotton Region Shelter

Thermometers inside a Cotton Region Shelter

Thermometers inside a Cotton Region Shelter

Education & News

Coordinated Universal Time - Time Zones - 24 Hour Clocks

Weather is global. The free exchange of weather data between most countries requires using a time standard that does not change - the time must be the same everywhere and it must not include daylight saving time. Today we use UTC, also known as Coordinated Universal Time. All nations coordinate their weather data gathering schedules using the same clock. While local times are different, world time is the same everywhere. Learn about time and UTC by clicking below.

Climate Products & Data



Be part of CoCoRahs

“Volunteers working together to measure precipitation across the nations.”

What is CoCoRaHS?

CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.  CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow).   By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Web-site, the aim of CoCoRaHS is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. CoCoRaHS now in all fifty states and Canada.