DataStreme Atmosphere
Website User's Guide


Getting Started

Weather Products


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DataStreme Atmosphere Equipment Requirements

In order to participate in DataStreme Atmosphere, the following requirements must be met:

Based upon the above list of requirements, a participant’s computer platform may be either a  PC or Apple. You will also need the capability to transmit some analyzed weather maps to your mentor. This may be via facsimile, scanned documents, email attachments, or the like.

Actual Internet connections will vary as noted on the next page in section II. Internet Access. Connections may use network cards, modems, or commercial services. Broadband connections via network, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or cable modem are preferable, however, dial-up connection to the Internet is acceptable.

Printing may be accomplished via any printer that is compatible with your computer system. Generally, Internet software is configured to work with Windows or Mac environments (similar to many word-processing programs). Typically any laser or ink-jet produce high enough resolution graphics that are desirable when printing maps, especially satellite views.

Conventional telefax machines may be required by your mentor in order to communicate (e.g. transmit coursework that consists of analyses completed on maps) with your Local Implementation Team (LIT) members. Additional equipment requirements may be based on local course implementation and should be determined from your LIT.

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Internet Access

Internet access may be through either of the following general arrangements:

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DataStreme Atmosphere Website

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Learning Files

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Several miscellaneous materials are available through this section of the DataStreme Atmosphere Website. Blank plotting maps, meteorological graphs, additional weather information sources, and additional notes on the Website products are given here.

Updating of Weather Products

The following is a list of data and map products available as part of DataStreme Atmosphere:

  1. North American surface weather observations - for approximately 200 stations, updated hourly.
  2. Upper air observations - updated twice daily (these represent atmospheric conditions above the Earth's surface at 0000Z and 1200Z each day).
  3. Radar data - updated hourly (conditions represent a national view at 35 minutes after the hour).
  4. Satellite data - updated hourly. (Visible images are only delivered during the daylight period.)
  5. General surface map features - including fronts and low and high pressure centers, updated every three hours (these features represent conditions at 00, 03, 06, 09, 12, 15, 18, and 21Z).
  6. Forecast data - updated twice daily, based on computer model output from 00Z and 12Z data inputs.
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Time Displayed on DataStreme Atmosphere Products

You may have noticed that on all DataStreme Atmosphere products, a time like 10Z 02 JAN 2004 is displayed. What is Z time?

In order for meteorologists to communicate about data, it is necessary to have a global reference time for all meteorological data. This reference time is commonly referred to by the following names: Z time (Zulu), UTC (Universal Coordinated Time), or GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). The value represents the time zone of Greenwich, England, UK. This time will always be ahead of US time zones.

To convert the value to your local time, you need to know the time of year and how many hours different your time is from Greenwich time. For example, a DataStreme Atmosphere map may display a time and date of 18Z 01 JAN 2004. What time would this be locally in Chicago? First think of 18Z as "military time" and then translate it to a clock value in either am or pm. So 18Z becomes 6:00 pm. To adjust for the time of year, we know that Chicago is in the Central Standard Time zone in winter, so using the table below,

Time Zone Standard
Atlantic 4 NA
Eastern 5 4
Central 6 5
Mountain 7 6
Pacific 8 7
Alaska 9 8
Hawaii 10 NA
Aleutian 10 9
Samoa 11 NA

we know that Greenwich is 6 hours ahead of Chicago. Thus for Chicago local time, subtract 6 hours from 6:00 pm and you have 12:00 noon local time.

For a view of world time zones, go to

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