Before we begin on talking on what the importance of weather charts are in the aviation world, we must begin with the question of ‘What are weather charts?’. Hence, let’s begin!
What are weather charts?
Weather maps shows various meteorological features across an area at a certain time such as temperature. In the modern days, we can access weather maps and/or charts in our smart phone such as the weather app. Weather maps, as you all have probably guessed by now, are used for weather forecasting. Maps using isotherms show temperature gradients in the area.
The journey towards today’s weather charts began in the 19th century where the main use of it was to foresee incoming storm systems just like today’s! However, in the olden days, it takes a long time just to pinpoint areas affected and very complicated. So, think about how lucky we are to have all the information just one click away?! But, how many types of weather charts are there?
There are different types of weather charts; Aviation Maps, Constant Pressure Charts, and Surface Weather Analysis. Did you know that icing areas has got their own weather charts? The main use of icing charts are to find out where it is safe for aircrafts to fly over and which areas are highly dangerous. Without this, pilots would not be able to plan their route accordingly prior to their trip as pilots would not know which areas to avoid.
The aviation world has got their own aviation weather maps that shows both VFR areas and where IFR is in effect. These charts also shows areas covered in cloud, the altitude with the most cloud coverage, and, of course, the weather or climate in the area at the current time period. So, if a pilot were to plan their flight route, they would be able to know which areas are affected by icing, thunderstorms, etc.
Constant pressure charts contains information regarding temperature, humidity, wind, and height above sea level. Constant pressure charts are used in areas of higher altitudes or any areas for that matter in order to obtain a more accurate and precise value of the pressure in the areas. All of the weather charts correlates with one another.
For example, constant pressure charts are able to indicate whether the pressure in a certain area is within the limits of ‘icing’ levels as icing areas has got their own range of pressure values in comparison to tropical areas. Through constant pressure charts, meteorologists and pilots will be able to obtain a much more accurate weather map.
Surface weather analysis, on the other hand, informs its users of areas of high and low pressures, the different weather elements present, in a certain area at a certain time through ground-based weather stations. Low pressure areas can be found alongside precipitation such as rain, snow, etc. In fact, Surface weather analysis charts can include isotherms.
What is the importance of weather charts in the aviation world?
Well, there is one simple answer to this question. Weather charts are highly important in the aviation world, AKA to pilots, for safety purposes. In our previous articles, we have talked about icing, fogs, thunderstorms, and the dangers that comes with all of these. If you haven’t seen the articles yet, go check them out! If not, here’s a little recap.
Icing is the formation of ice on the surface or within the engine of an aircraft that results in the alteration of speed and hence, requiring greater power to maintain the speed. This is highly dangerous as there has been a number of cases where icing has caused accidents.
Thunderstorms carries with them various problems including tornadoes, turbulence, icing, hail, low visibility and lightning. But, why are thunderstorms dangerous? This is due to the fact that thunderstorms are difficult to be foreseen by weather radars and often, it is too late for pilots to escape cumulonimbus clouds. Fog clouds are obviously dangerous, particularly to VFR pilots as fog clouds reduces visibility, both to the pilots and the Air Traffic Controller (ATC). Without any knowledge on instruments, it is a less-likely chance that you would be able to land safely.
Aside from this, there are also other factors to take into consideration that affects flight safety and yet can be seen in weather charts. Through weather charts, pilots could see which areas are unsuitable for flying and plan their route accordingly in order to find the best and most efficient pathway towards their destination!
With our programs, you can expect to learn more on these in order for you to become a proficient pilot. This is a highly crucial knowledge to have, so, join 14DAYPILOT Flight Academy and learn new things everyday!