Weather Resources for Aircraft Accident Investigation

 [Multiple Data Sets] [Soundings] [Satellite] [RADAR] [Models] [METARs]  [Marine Data] [Misc]

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"One-stop" Multiple Data Sets (e.g., surface charts, upper air charts, SAT, RADAR)
Plymouth State Weather Center - Archive
Plymouth State Weather Center - Real-Time Data (back for a few hours)
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) – RAP Real-Time Weather Data
University of Wyoming (e.g., Surface and Upper Air charts, METARs, SAT Overlays)
McGill University - Radar and Weather Data Archive Page
Université du Québec à Montréal Weather Archives
San Francisco State University Weather Server - Archives
UniSys Weather Archives
Wetterzentrale (mainly for Europe)
NOAA SRRS Analysis and Forecast Charts (Surface and Upper Air charts - including 500 hPa Vorticity)
NOAA Storm Prediction Center (SPC) Map Archive (Surface and Upper Air charts)
NOAA SPC Severe Thunderstorm Event Archive (Back to January 2000)

HINT: Have a look for the day you want; they may have archived data for a Thunderstorm Event with some of the data being relevant to your case.

Aerological Diagrams/Soundings

University of Wyoming - Soundings and RAOB Data (Back to 1973. Stability indices, etc calculated)

NOTE: Can get Skew-T, Stuve, and Hodograph graphics in GIF and PDF.  Can also get Decoded and Unmerged Text List, and in TTAA/TTBB/PPBB Raw format.

Plymouth State Weather Center - Soundings and RAOB Data (Back to 1957)

NOTE: Can get Skew-T, Emagram, Stuve, and Hodograph graphics (GIF in various sizes). Can also get Decoded Text Read out, and in TTAA/TTBB/PPBB Raw format.  Dual Soundings Diagrams and Data Lists also available.

NOAA/FSL – Soundings and RAOB Data (Back to 1991. No Stability indices, etc calculated).

NOTE: Some locations (i.e., military bases/ranges) available here and not at the other website listed.

NOTE: Can get Skew-T graphics in GIF.  Can also get Text List read out in FSL format (ASCII text, and Original), and in TTAA/TTBB Raw format.

NOAA FRD/FSL - ESRL/GSD Data (Non-Java GIF. Java is  here. No Stability indices, etc calculated).

NOTE: Can get Graphic with Text list, and TTAA/TTBB/PPBB Raw format.

NOTE: Effective 23-Feb-2006, for Bak20, dev, and dev2 analyses (RUC Model), and 1, 3, 6, 9h forecasts at 0 and 12 UTC, archival soundings (since 23 Feb 2006) are available for these RAOB sites. Also, for dev and dev2 analyses, archival soundings (back 60 days) are available for these airports.

Florida State University (Back to few days. Random stations; search for station using Ctrl+F. In TTAA/TTBB)


Plymouth State Weather Center - Archive
Plymouth State Weather Center - Real-Time Data (back for a few hours)
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) – RAP Real-Time Weather Data
Université du Québec à Montréal Weather Archives
San Francisco State University Weather Server - Archives
UniSys Weather Archives
University of Wisconsin-Madison - Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC)
NASA – Earth Science Office - Interactive Global Geostationary Weather Satellite Images

Imagery can be down to 1km Resolution over US and most of Canada (back to 3h 45mins at 15 min intervals). There is also some satellite imagery from other parts of the world; though not at 1km Resolution.

To help keep the satellite images centred over the same area, press the area you want and make note of the grid reference  (i.e., X=309 Y=259).  Then you can type that into the
'Extract Sub-image' section.
EUMETSAT - Meteosat Service Imagery (mainly for Europe, South Africa, etc)

United States Navy - Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Center - Norfolk

NOTE: Select “Satellite Products” on the Left Menu Bar.  Then go to the type of satellite imagery you want (i.e., IR, VIS) and then to the area of interest (e.g., North Atlantic).  Select “Image List.”  The imagery goes back a few days.


Plymouth State Weather Center - Real-Time Data (back for a few hours)
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) – RAP Real-Time Weather Data

NOTE: Get US RADAR (0.5° Reflectivity and 0.5° Velocity Scans) for 5 days back, at 1 hour intervals. 

HINT: If it’s the day of the occurrence - loop the RADAR which loops at approx. 10 mins intervals and press Print Screen and paste into MS Paint. Then fix up the pic and align them in PPT, etc to loop them.

Canadian - CAPPI (1.5 km CAPPI back to 3 hours at 10 mins intervals)
NOAA Service Records Retention System (SRRS) US RADAR Summary Charts

Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) Models

University of Wyoming (only for a few days)
US Navy - Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC)
NOGAPS – 5 Pervious Model Runs (at 12 hr intervals)
COAMPS – 5 Pervious Model Runs (at 6 hr intervals)

IPS MeteoStar  (3 pervious model runs at 6 hrs intervals)

Penn State - North American Re-analysis (Standard 4-Panel Maps. Every 3 hours since 01 Jan 1979)

NOTE: Generally, RUC and GFS model analyses are available for the past 16 hours, and forecasts are available for various hours out to +36 hours.


University of Wyoming  (Back 1 month. Worldwide -Surface Obs and Meteorgrams - includes AUTO stations)
Plymouth State Weather Center - Surface Obs (Back to August 1998; includes AUTO stations)

You can get METARs and SA reports (from AUTOs) for whole US States and Canadian Provinces at a time, by hour.

If you're looking for international locations select "Mexico and others." You can get some airports; search for the station you want using Ctrl+F.

NOTE: If you can't find the station you're looking for, or you want to get a 24-hour Summary of just one location (including international locations), try going to the Meteorgrams section: Plymouth State Weather Center - Meteorgrams

HINT: You can get the Meteorgram Graphic or the Decoded Obs Text Listing, or Raw METAR Obs Listing, or both.

Florida State University (Back a few days. Search for station using Ctrl+F)

Marine Data

University of Wisconsin-Madison - SSEC  (Sea Surface Temps - SST)
UniSys Weather Archives (SST Data)
NOAA - National Data Buoy Center (Buoy Data and SST Data)
NOAA - Marine Observing Systems (Satellite Derived winds/QuikSCAT Winds)
NOAA Service Records Retention System (Ocean Analysis and Forecast Charts - Wind, Waves, etc)
NOAA CoastWatch - Satellite Derived SST Data (Back one day; Alaska and Caribbean)
NOAA CoastWatch - Satellite Derived Ocean Sfc Wind Data (Back one day; Alaska and Caribbean)

Miscellaneous (e.g., PIREPs/AIREPs)

NOAA Service Records Retention System (Tropical Analysis Charts, Hemispheric Analysis Charts)
NOAA SPC Product Archives (Outlooks, Storm Reports, Mesoscale Discussions, Weather Watches)
NOAA SPC - US Fire Weather Forecasts (Back to June, 2002)
NOAA - "Most Popular Products" (Some Free Data)

NOTE: Data includes: Climatological data (e.g., Obs, Maps); Heating/Cooling Degree Days; Surface Data (i.e., US, Global Summary of the Day); Freeze/Frost Data; and Historical Significant Events Imagery.

NOAA FRD/FSL - ESRL/GSD Data (Various times. Data from Profilers, Radiometers, or Aircraft - restricted)
Florida State University - Meteorology Dept (Back a few days)

NOTE: Aircraft Reports (i.e., PIREPS/AIREPS, AMDAR - worldwide), Dropsonde Reports, Pibal Reports, Synoptic Reports; Climate Reports, and US Upper Air Subsets.

HINT: For PIREPs/AIREPs search by date and hour by FIC using Ctrl+F.  Within FIC it is often useful to also search out key terms (i.e., Turbulence, UAA, LLWS) using Ctrl+F.  Examples include: Urgent reports (UUA); Severe (SEV); Turbulence (TB); and Icing (IC).  You may also want to search out terms (i.e., TURB, Severe, Wind Shear) because items may show up in the REMARK section (RM) and not necessarily in the "Standard Codes."

NOTE: Be mindful that sometimes PIREPs are not coded as Urgent when technically they should be.  As an example, a PIREP may only be listed as a "Normal" one (i.e., UA) however list SEV TB or SEV IC in the "Standard Codes" or similar comments in the REMARKS section (RM) .

NOTE: Be mindful of the slight differences in PIREP formats (i.e., US vs. Canadian).

NOTE: You can also get some Aircraft reports (AMDAR) by date and hour.  These reports often have temperature, wind, etc at the aircraft's Flight Level.  Usually data is outside the US/Canada and sometimes has Airline identifiers (i.e., QF).  Often has Grid Reference (i.e., 2129S 13106E) vice ICAO location; search by FIC using Ctrl+F.

Other Links
This is a work in progress.  If you have any suggestions or links please feel free to let us know.  CONTACT US

Fixed Time World Clock
First Light / Last Light

Naval Observatory Solar/Lunar Data

Weather Calculator [1] [2]
Crosswind Calculator [X-wind Table]

Pressure Altitude Table

ICAO Weather Station Names (Use Ctrl+F)

World Aeronautical Database
Aircraft Type ID (Use Ctrl+F) [1] [2]
VNC (Sectionals)/WAC Maps [1] [2]

Online E6B
Great Circle Mapper

Basic Maths Calculator

Dutcher SMS - Meteorology Courses

Short Course in Applied Met for Regional Operators

Short Course in Applied International Aviation Met

Crash Scene Investigation (CSI) Workshop

Weather Risk Management

Forensic Aviation Meteorology

Winter Weather Workshop

Turbulence Avoidance Workshop


Disclaimer - The author is not responsible in any manner for direct, indirect, special or consequential damages,
however caused, arising out of use of this website or any reliance on the information it contains.

The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and the Providers disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use the data.

© John W. Dutcher (2007)
Last Updated: 20 Dec 07

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