Radar Imagery Explained Interactive eLearning Course



interpreting NEXRAD color codes to understand the interpretation of these displays you must pay close attention to the color coding now the takeaway message here is that not every display electronic or physical uses the same apparent color coding for various levels of radar returns at least they don't always look the same do not under any circumstance assume that the colors represent the same levels we previously discussed for airborne weather radar red is usually bad and green good but exactly how good or bad defers considerably from one weather provider to the next that's why you learn to identify radar returns and the probability of turbulence associated with them in terms of their DBZ values not their common color codes here is one regional radar scale with an entirely different set of colors representing different DBZ levels this graphic shows the variations between color calibration on several different popular NEXRAD presentations this is why you always look at the radar products color calibration scale if you're not already familiar with it it's important to remember that next red charts are not real time by the time you see it it can be from five to six minutes old and measured in terms of the short lifespan of a thunderstorm this is a long time the age of a Nix red chart becomes especially important if you are using it aloft to make weather decisions you must keep in mind that cockpit up length weather provided by weather providers such as XM and WSI is not real-time cockpit weather information like airborne weather radar is and unlike fine wine NEXRAD information does not improve with age if you try using NEXRAD information to penetrate a line of convective weather then you or your heirs deserve test-pilot pay and I cannot emphasize this too strongly that what you see is not necessarily what you will get yes it can be close but that doesn't mean the same and that's why you want to use cockpit next read information to get a feel for the likelihood of convective and possibly thunderstorm weather on route without considering it as a road map for threading your way through thunderstorms and this is only one of the many bits of information that you want to use in making weather decisions on Route uplinked NEXRAD is however extremely valuable information as long as you put it in its place always remember that you're interested in staying at least 20 nautical miles away from any echo boundary containing convective activity having returns of 40 DB Z's level 3 or higher returns any

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