G-AIRMETS

Well, it’s been a quiet week in our desert metropolis. Software to be tested, plans to be refined, and all manner of other earthly concerns abound. No flying.

Now that the weekend is here, maybe I can fix that if but only for a short time.

A quick look at ADDS today strikes me as odd. Its front page AIRMET/SIGMET view is usually one of the first flight-planning things I look at to get a sense of what’s happening across our continent weather-wise. On a normal early spring day, it normally shows a melange of AIRMETS for icing, mountain obscuration, turbulence, and all the other typical spring weather. Today, all I see are some thunderstorms in east-central Texas (are there ever not thunderstorms in Texas?).

Is that all? No other weather on a March day? Not possible…

Looking closer, I note that the caption says “AIRMET images replace by G-AIRMET Display“. No AIRMETs shown anymore, apparently. This looks to have been switched on Tuesday, 3/16.

Clicking on the G-AIRMET link is much more interesting. It gives you the power to switch on only the categories of AIRMETs of interest to you. Doing this allows you to declutter the display so that you can make sense of several potential layers of warning areas.

When I start switching on AIRMET categories today, it’s pretty obvious that there’s a frontal system from central New Mexico all the way across Michigan and Ontario up into Maine. Pilots in ABQ have ice and mountain obscuration to contend with, while pilots on Oklahoma pretty much have a mess on their hands.

Give it a try, see what you think. It is definitely easier to see what’s happening in detail than it was before. Getting the “big picture” takes a few more clicks, but the control over the presentation is definitely useful.

So, nothing to really worry about in AZ today, just possible low-level bumpage from surface-8000′. Perhaps I should go get some air…

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