Weather Briefing



The verbal weather discussion is the most fundamental of the methods you will use to relay weather information to consumers.  A good weather briefing requires careful preparation.  Quality of the briefings will only be improved with practice.   Most of you will be called upon to give briefings soon after you arrive in the field, so practice is emphasized and should be taken seriously by the students.


The minimum requirements as to quality and content of discussions are summarized below.  It is up to the student to modify and polish his presentation.  An essential ingredient of a good presentation is organization.  A well organized briefing will be:


     (a)  clear - capable of being fully understood by the consumer.


     (b)  concise - to the point and without lengthy digressions.


     (c)  logical - in proper sequence and using scientific reasoning.


     (d)  accurate - based on a correct analysis of the situation to be presented.


The briefing should also be tailored to the needs and understanding of the consumer.  In lab, you will be briefing student forecasters who have a basic knowledge and understanding of the kinematics and dynamics of atmospheric flow.  For this group you can, and should, relate the observed and predicted atmospheric behavior to theoretical expectations.  If you are briefing pilots who have only a very elementary knowledge of meteorology, on the other hand, you must present your briefing in elementary terms that will be understandable to them.  And, whereas the student forecaster will require a briefing that relates predicted storm movement and development to patterns of expected weather, the pilot's sole interest will be in the predicted weather in flight and at take-off and landing.  He will not expect you to justify your predictions in terms of dynamic and synoptic theory.


Although the type of briefing you give in the field will then usually be of a different and more "practical - applied" nature than the briefings you are called upon to give in lab, nevertheless the practice of justifying your observations and predictions aloud to your peers should benefit you later on.  In the field, you will still have to justify your forecasts to yourself, even though not usually to the consumer.


A suggested briefing outline to follow is given below:


l.  Brief discussion of features and weather since last briefing to establish continuity with

    previous briefing-forecasting session.


               Identify major synoptic features and indicate their movement and development.

               Briefly discuss significant weather occurrences.

               Briefly compare actual movements and developments with those that were progged.


2.  Discussion of current features and associated weather, to establish the initial conditions

     for predictions.


               Describe upper-air circulation pattern, pointing out apparent long wave troughs and ridges and identifying short wave features.

               Indicate location and intensity of jet streams(s).

               Relate upper-air features to surface pressure centers and fronts.

               Using either a thickness chart or the temperature and wind field at 700 mb, indicate general areas of warm and cold advection.

               Summarize general temperature distributions as related to air masses.

               Identify significant cloud and weather patterns and relate to three-dimensional pattern of motions.


3.  Discussion of predicted movement and development of features and associated patterns

     of weather.


               Indicate predicted movement of current synoptic features for the next 24 hours.

               Discuss development of synoptic features for the next 24 hours.  ("Development" includes deepening and filling of lows changes in intensity of highs, occluding and changes in intensity of fronts, development and dissipation of cloud and weather areas).

               Summarize predicted temperature and precipitation patterns for the country as a


               Discuss 48 hr, 72 hr, 96 hr, and 3 to 5 days outlooks.

               Summarize predicted temperature and precipitation pattern for given forecast times.


Some flexibility is possible in the use of the above outline.  The important thing is that the briefing be organized listeners, and that the discussions of features in space and time be consistently related so that the listeners can grasp the overall picture of the synoptic situation and its change in time.


In lab, about 20-30 minutes will be allotted to the weather discussion.  The briefer should plan to cover all the significant points outlined above in l5 to 20 minutes, allowing 5 to l0 minutes of time for questions and further discussion.  This will require that the briefer have his talk well organized and outlined in advance.


Some further briefing advice:


l.  You may use notes or a prepared outline if you wish.


2.  Know where the maps and other data that you plan to use in your briefing are located.  Much time is wasted, and continuity lost, if a briefer has to hunt around on the pegboard to find his maps.


3.  Know the observation times of analyzed maps and the verification times of progs.  It's a good idea to relabel all maps that you use in PST (PDT).


4.  Remember to face the audience as much as possible during the briefing.  Above all, don't stand directly in front of map you are discussing, with back to the audience.


5.  If necessary, feel free to call on someone to help hold maps.


6. Be prepared to answer to the best of your ability questions from the audience.(Remember that even the instructor doesn't know all the answers in a course of this kind, so be prepared to be "stumped" occasionally).


7.  If you make a mistake, correct yourself gracefully and carry on.  You'll have to guard

     against letting a slip unsettle you and ruining the rest of your presentation.