Do's and Don'ts

Strive to have each sentence content-rich. Remember, the reader has eyes, and does not have to be hand led to observing obvious things.

Do not start paragraphs with something like "Fig. 1 is a surface weather map." First sentence of paragraphs should be topic sentences related to the theme of the paragraph. A better opening would be "...Several surface features combined to focus convection in Marin County on 4 January 2008. First, a slow moving cold front (see Fig. 1) was draped from southwest-to-northeast over the county...."

Do not put a figure caption in the content section of the manuscript. For example, you should NOT put something like this: "...Fig. 1 is the visible satellite for 12 UTC 4 January 2008..." Instead, something like that can be the figure caption. What should appear in the text is some meteorological observation of the significance of the figure. Here's a good example: "...several convective flareups occured along the front, and were clearly visible on the satellite imagery. For example, note the texture evident on the visible satellite imagery (Fig. 1) over the region with the heaviest precipitation, noted in Section 2...."

Do put the most significant figures that support your arguments. However, you don't have to include every chart you looked at, unless there was something of significance on the chart. For example, you should NOT put something like this: "....a short wave trough moved across the eastern Pacific, and was located at 140W on 0000 UTC (Fig. 4); 130Wat 12 UTC (Fig. 5); and 120W at 0000 UTC (Fig. 6)..." Instead, you might create a composite chart showing the location of the trough axis on several days, all on the same chart. Or, you might say something like ... "....a short wave trough moved across the eastern Pacific, and was located at 140W on 0000 UTC (not shown); 130W at 12 UTC (not shown); and was at maximum intensity as it approached 120W at 0000 UTC (Fig. 4)..."

Do use figures as a starting point for writing the manuscript. By this I mean that the figures you choose can be evidence of a logical thought process. By creating the figures for a synoptic overview first, then the overview itself can be built around them.

Remember that there is no set format for a synoptic overview. It's up to the author to decide for him or herself what features of the synoptic pattern should be stressed. However, there are some obvious charts and diagrams that might be assembled and can be used as a "springboard."

Group discussion: Make a list of the charts, diagrams etc. you might begin to assemble to create a good synoptic overview.