Observed Weather Soundings

Mark Stephens

Feb 2, 2021
Philadelphia PA
As I am studying the basics of severe weather forecasting and chasing I have found that looking through areas of the mesoanalysi, and surface observations on the day of a severe weather event from home while watching doppler radar has been a great approach to understanding what is actually going on, and a real-time testing out of the knowledge I've learned in my readings.

My potentially newbie sounding question: Is there a way to view weather soundings at a specific location in real time similar to the way Surface Observations temp/dew/wind, or cape and shear values can be read in real time via the mesoanalysis on SPC? Or do most chasers relay on short term models (HRRR and RAP) to get an idea of current weather soundings at a specific location?

I have been using the observed sounding archive - Storm Prediction Center - Sounding Analysis Archive - on SPC, however these are only uploaded every two hours, leading to a time deficit if I were actually in the field, and they appear to only have the locations of NWS offices rather than the ability to select any given point. Not entirely sure if what I am asking is even a realistic possibility, but thought I'd throw the question out there just in case!


Mar 1, 2004
Lansing, MI
You're on the right track... Weather balloons are generally sent up twice a day from NWS offices.

Other sources include aircraft soundings and satellite soundings, and the occasional 18Z/06Z special soundings.

Randy Jennings

May 18, 2013
To elaborate on what rdale said, aircraft soundings are called ACARS and they are the proprietary data of the airlines providing the data to NOAA. The data may not be redistributed in real-time, although it is used in models and NWS forecasting. A couple of airlines have agreed to make some data public (Southwest and UPS last I knew) and you can find that online at https://wxster.com/acars. Note that ACARS data is also very limited (to where planes file and who shares info).

Their also is the vertical wind profile (VWP). While it lacks temp and dew point, it does tell you what the wind is doing. I always use GRLevel3 to look at this, but you can probably get it online somewhere.
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