How do you find CURRENT upper level data?

Jason Boggs

I am curious how some of you find current upper level data. I e-mailed T. Vasquez about this question and got a good response and was wondering what everybody else thought about this. I know soundings come out every 12 hours at 12Z and OOZ. Suppose your looking at data around noon for a possible chase day and want to find the current 700mb wind speed. The morning sounding with the true data is now 6 hrs. old so how can you find the current upper level air data such as temp and wind speed? Remember that model data only gives a forecast and does not give the true current upper level wind data. What do some of you look at to get this data? I heard that the RUC model is probably the best bet since it ingests several aspects of meteorological data. I know that soundings are very valuable to storm forecasting but I generally don't rely on them much at all. I know that special soundings are done on active days but there have been many active days when special soundings were not launched.

Sometimes there are 18z soundings taken. These special 18 z sounding are available on the College of DePage Nexlab site. I am not sure what the criteria are for taking an 18 z sounding. They seem to take them from all the SWODY moderate and high risk areas but I have seen them even more often than that.

Other sources would be wind profilers. However that only gives you wind speed and direction. Those are also available on the COD Nexlab page.

As far as wind temp and dewpoint profiles the only option I know of is the GOES Sounding. You can find them at
The only draw back to the GOES Sounding is that it will not be available if there is substantial cloud cover in the area of interest.
I think 18z soundings are taken on an individual basis. I know some mesoscale discussions indicated that soundings were requested.
Profilers and aircraft data (ACARS / TAMDAR) are the best source of observations other than balloons, but the aircraft stuff isn't publicly available so your best bet is the RUC initialization.

- Rob