# Winds and Temperature Aloft Forecast (FD)

Winds and temperatures aloft forecasts (FD) provide wind and temperature forecasts for specific locations in the contiguous United States, including network locations in Hawaii and Alaska. The forecasts are made twice a day based on the radiosonde upper air observations taken at 0000Z and 1200Z.

Through 12,000 feet are true altitudes and above 18,000 feet are pressure altitudes. Wind direction is always in reference to true north and wind speed is given in knots. The temperature is given in degrees Celsius. No winds are forecast when a given level is within 1,500 feet of the station elevation. Similarly, temperatures are not forecast for any station within 2,500 feet of the station elevation.

If the wind speed is forecast to be greater than 100 knots but less than 199 knots, the computer adds 50 to the direction and subtracts 100 from the speed. To decode this type of data group, the reverse must be accomplished. For example, when the data appears as “731960,” subtract 50 from the 73 and add 100 to the 19, and the wind would be 230° at 119 knots with a temperature of –60 °C. If the wind speed is forecast to be 200 knots or greater, the wind group is coded as 99 knots. For example, when the data appears as “7799,” subtract 50 from 77 and add 100 to 99, and the wind is 270° at 199 knots or greater. When the forecast wind speed is calm or less than 5 knots, the data group is coded “9900,” which means light and variable. [Figure 12-13]

Figure 12-13. Winds and temperature aloft report.

Explanation of Figure 12-13:

The heading indicates that this FD was transmitted on the 15th of the month at 1640Z and is based on the 1200Z radiosonde. The valid time is 1800Z on the same day and should be used for the period between 1700Z and 2100Z. The heading also indicates that the temperatures above 24,000 feet MSL are negative. Since the temperatures above 24,000 feet are negative, the minus sign is omitted.

A four-digit data group shows the wind direction in reference to true north and the wind speed in knots. The elevation at Amarillo, Texas (AMA) is 3,605 feet, so the lowest reportable altitude is 6,000 feet for the forecast winds. In this case, “2714” means the wind is forecast to be from 270° at a speed of 14 knots.

A six-digit group includes the forecast temperature aloft. The elevation at Denver (DEN) is 5,431 feet, so the lowest reportable altitude is 9,000 feet for the winds and temperature forecast. In this case, “2321-04” indicates the wind is forecast to be from 230° at a speed of 21 knots with a temperature of –4 °C.

Learn more about aviation weather with Weather Flying by Robert Buck. Regarded as the bible of weather flying, this aviation classic not only continues to make complex weather concepts understandable for even the least experienced of flyers, but has now been updated to cover new advances in technology.

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