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Dear friends and followers, welcome back to my channel!
Firstly the METAR or Meteorological Aerodrome Report is simply a report of the current weather at an aerodrome or airport. They are usually produced automatically every half an hour using a number of weather sensors from around the airport and coded together for pilots to access before or during flight. They are used to show the current conditions but importantly do NOT contain any weather forecasting, except in some special cases. (They can however be used to see trends by looking for changes between two or three METARs. For example; let's say that London Heathrow has issued 4 METARs which show the temperature and QNH is decreasing and cloud cover is steadily increasing. We can see from the reports that the weather has been getting worse and therefore you can assume it will continue to get even worse making flying or landing at Heathrow more difficult.) For a more accurate and reliable weather forecast pilots use TAF’s which we’ll get more into in a future video.
Nevertheless, as for reading METARs they can be very confusing to the untrained eye but I’ll break down the key points so that they make a little more sense even if you’ve never seen one before. So in this example we have a METAR issued at Auckland International Airport in New Zealand (February 21st at 0830 NZDT) which I've broken up into sections for us to decode. It is important to note here that this is a general guide as different countries will have slightly different ways of writing aviation reports like this.
The first useful part of a METAR will be the airport code and time of issue, highlighted here. The 4 letter code NZAA is the ICAO code for Auckland Airport and the time code breaks down as a date and a time on that day to show when the report was issued. Note that the time of issue is always given in UTC which is why it is marked with a 'z' for Zulu Time. This means that this report was issued at 7:30pm zulu on the 20th, but is relevant to conditions in New Zealand at 8:30am on the 21st due to the 13 hour time difference, kapisch? Looking at an old report by mistake is an easy trap to fall into so always double check you have the right time and date when checking aviation weather. The next part, “AUTO” means the report was generated automatically by a weather computer using sensors from around the airport. Almost all airports which serve commercial airline flights will have METARS issued automatically every half hour.
Thank you very much for your time! I hope you enjoy this video!
Wishing you all the best!
Your "Captain" Joe
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