Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some Software for Weather Geeks

For those who may be die-hard amateur or professional forecasters or just true "weather geeks" here is a list of a few weather programs (software) that I use and enjoy.

First in the forecasting category we have WINGRIDDS and BUFKIT.

WINGRIDDS stands for WINdows based GRidded Interactive Display and Diagnostic System.

From the WINGRIDDS Webpage : ( WINGRIDDS ) : 
   "WINGRIDDS is a software package that allows the user to view meteorologically significant fields of gridded observation analysis and numerical weather prediction model output (GRIB files). The fields are displayed in either contour or vector format, whichever is appropriate for a particular field. This package also allows the user to extract a variety of information from numerous meteorological diagnostic parameters computed from the gridded data fields.

   The flexibility of WINGRIDDS allows the package to meet the needs of users with a wide range of skills and requirements. The novice can quickly learn to display a wide variety of predefined products using the WINGRIDDS Menu system. More advanced users can develop specialized products to meet their individual needs using the programmable WINGRIDDS Command language, including the creation of customized menu options to meet specific user needs."

WINGRIDDS can be downloaded (its free, too this is a direct link to the software) from: WINGRIDDS Version 3.1 Installation File

BUFKIT is a tool kit that aids in the visualization and analysis of vertical profiles in the atmosphere for a particular "point" or location. These profiles are useful in the forecasting of daily (maximum or High) temperatures, severe weather potential, wind speed and gusts, precipitation type, etc. The latest version (go to:  BUFKIT ) comes with training videos. Once again this software is free.

While WINGRIDDS does also allow for the plotting and analyzing of real-time weather observations for surface and upper-air locations one of my favorite programs for such plotting and analysis of this type of weather data is from Weathergraphics.

The software that I still use is called weathergafix and can be downloaded here:  WXgrafix . This program is an old "dos" version that can still be run on a windows system; ( I use dosbox to run it).

If you find this program not to your liking or don't want to install dosbox to get it to run then may I suggest you look into Digital Atmosphere (either the personal or professional version from Weathergraphics). This software is not free; depending on what "flavor" you like or want determines what you pay.

Another analysis tool/software that I also like (and do have) is called RAOB. This software is not free either but it very good for analyzing atmospheric profiles for various upper-air sites. It also allows for cross and time section analysis, forecasting temperatures, precipitation, etc.  Like Digital Atmosphere depending on what flavor you want or like determines the cost of the software (there are various "modules" that one can purchase to add to the "base" module).  The website for RAOB is : RAOB .

Now here is another neat program for downloading and archiving satellite imagery from NASA-Ghcc website. Go to GhccSat.html . At the bottom of the page there is a zip file to download.

Radar data is also useful in forecasting and this data can be analyzed and looped with another really cool program that is both free but has some additional enhancements for a very small fee. This program is called The Weather Radar Toolkit. Go to Astroscan's homepage to download. The cool thing about this program is that it uses data from local NWS radars and allows you to use this data in many ways ranging from constructing an analysis of the data.

Just a note: With all this software that I have written about, I am not endorsing it nor am I responsible for any negative impacts that it may have on your particular system SO if you install it and or use any of it it is done at your own risk and you assume all responsibilities and liabilities as it relates to the use and installation of this software.