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Guide to the Polar Continental Shelf Project weather observation data sets

By: David E. Atkinson

Description of data elements

Data element

Description, instrumentation, details

PCSPID a numeric identifier assigned to PCSP stations during the years 1974 - 1984 and 1987, 1988
VIS horizontal visibility, in miles, estimated by observers with minimal training
DBTEMP dry bulb temperature read from AES standard minimum thermometers and/or, in later years, from digital equipment
WDIR wind direction estimated to 10s of a degree from a flag
WSPD wind speed read from a hand-held anemometer or, in rare cases, estimated
WX1,WX2,WX3 weather elements (see codes)
DEWTEMP dewpoint temperature derived from a sling or electrically aspirated psychrometer
TOTCLD total cloud cover, in tenths, estimated from the ground by observers with minimal training.
CLDAMT1,2,3,4 cloud cover for each of four levels (if observable), in tenths, estimated from the ground by observers with minimal training
CLDTYP1,2,3,4 cloud type for each of four levels (if observable), in code, estimated from the ground by observers with minimal training
CLDHGT1,2,3,4 cloud height for each of four levels (if observable), in thousands of feet, estimated from the ground by observers with minimal training
MAXTEMP maximum dry-bulb temperature, obtained using an AES maximum mercury thermometer, observed in a 12-hour period
MINTEMP minimum dry-bulb temperature, obtained using an AES minimum alcohol thermometer, observed in a 12-hour period
WBTEMP wet bulb temperature obtained from a sling or electrically aspirated psychrometer
PRECIP non-standard gauge estimate of precipitation, in millimeters
DATE date of observation
HOUR hour of observation (UTC)
LAT latitude (N) given in decimal degrees
LONG longitude (W) given in decimal degrees
CHARID character id - an alternative means of referring to the stations, used 1989-1993
AESID AES id - an alternative means of referring to the stations, issued by AES when some of the data were stored on their computer, used 1984-1986. Only the last 4 of a seven digit identifier is given (the first three digits refer to the region).

Weather Element codes

Code

Weather element

Code

Weather element

01 fog (F) 36 freezing drizzle (ZL)
02 ice fog (IF) 37 heavy freezing drizzle (ZL+)
03 blowing snow (BS) 40 very light snow pellets (SP--)
04 blowing dust (BD) 41 light snow pellets (SP-)
05 ice crystals (IC) 42 snow pellets (SP)
10 very light snow (S--) 43 heavy snow pellets (SP+)
11 light snow (S-) 44 very light snow showers (SW--)
12 snow (S) 45 light snow showers (SW-)
13 heavy snow (S+) 46 snow showers (SW)
14 very light snow grains (SG--) 47 heavy snow showers (SW+)
15 light snow grains (SG-) 50 very light ice pellets (IP--)
16 snow grains (SG) 51 light ice pellets (IP-)
17 heavy snow grains (SG+) 52 ice pellets (IP)
20 very light rain (R--) 53 heavy  ice pellets (IP+)
21 light rain (R--) 54 very light ice pellet showers (IPW--)
22 rain (R) 55 light ice pellet showers (IPW-)
23 heavy rain (R+) 56 ice pellet showers (IPW)
24 very light freezing rain (ZR--) 57 heavy ice pellet showers (IPW+)
25 light freezing rain (ZR-) 60 very light rain showers (RW--)
26 freezing rain (ZR) 61 light rain showers (RW-)
27 heavy freezing rain (ZR+) 62 rain showers (RW)
30 very light drizzle (L--) 63 heavy rain showers (RW+)
31 light drizzle (L-) 64 very light hail (A--)
32 drizzle (L) 65 light hail (A-)
33 heavy drizzle (L+) 66 hail (A)
34 very light freezing drizzle (ZL--) 67 heavy hail (A+)
35 light freezing drizzle (ZL-) 68 blowing sand (BN)

Cloud type codes

Code

Cloud type

1 Altocumulus (AC)
2 Altostratus (AS)
3 Altocumulus (AC)
4 Cirrocumulus (CC)
5 Cirrostratus (CS)
6 Cirrus (CI)
7 Cumulonimbus (CB)
8 Cumulus (CU)
9 Cumulus Fractus (CF)
10 Stratus Fractus (SF)
11 Towering Cumulus (TCU)
12 Nimbostratus (NS)
13 Stratocumulus (SC)
14 Stratus (ST)
15 Fog (F)
16 Other obscuring phenomena (for example snow, rain shower, etc)

AES - Atmospheric Environment Service of Canada - the former name for the organization now called the Meteorological Service of Canada

 

 

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