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Graphics Tools for Meteorology Research and Education


PI Mark Sinclair

A software package called MADS (Meteorological Analysis and Diagnostic Software) is being developed to provide gridded data (both archived and real-time) and graphical software to produce maps, cross-sections, vertical profiles, time series graphs and statistical (climatological) displays of a large number of basic and derived quantities.

Unlike similar proprietary software products, MADS is intuitive and very easy to use. Students produce publication-quality color maps and graphs with only a few minutes of instruction and typically remark on how easy the software is to use. Meteorology faculty have used MADS plots for their research, and MADS assignments have been implemented into meteorology classes. MADS is ideal for institutions with limited computing support and is maintained by various automated scripts that download or update archived datasets. This system is continually being enhanced to accommodate more and more features expected in a modern meteorological graphics display package.This project has the potential to enhance meteorology education. Weather analysis and forecasting require both critical thinking and three-dimensional spatial analysis skills to apply complex theory to the diagnosis of atmospheric processes from multiple environmental variables in a variety of graphical formats. Outside websites used by meteorology students to visualize atmospheric fields typically offer a limited menu of “standard” meteorological displays. Upper-division theory classes are usually taught from a purely mathematical standpoint, with limited application to real-time atmospheric phenomena. MADS allows students to visualize contributions of the individual terms in dynamical meteorology or thermodynamics equations and overlay them to see their relative impact in the current meteorological context.

Research Dates

09/01/2014 to 09/01/2025


  • Mark Sinclair
    Applied Aviation Sciences Department
    Ph.D., Naval Postgraduate School

Tags: applied meteorology college of aviation meteorology prescott campus

Categories: Faculty-Staff