365917 Declarative Surface Station Plots: The Next Stop on the GEMPAK Replacement Roadmap for MetPy

Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Hall B1 (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Maxwell Grover, UCAR, Boulder, CO; and R. M. May and Z. Bruick

Declarative Surface Station Plots: The Next Stop on the MetPy Roadmap

Maps of surface station observations are used extensively by the meteorology community. They can be used to identify frontal boundaries, surface pressure anomalies, sea breezes, and numerous other surface-based features. The General Meteorology Package (GEMPAK), originally developed three decades ago, has been used by the meteorology community to make surface maps for years. Unfortunately, GEMPAK has reached end-of-development status. Meanwhile, Python developers have made great strides in recent years by making meteorological data visualization easier for users. MetPy is a Python library built by the meteorology community and managed by Unidata. Prior to summer 2019, MetPy had the ability to create station plots, but lacked a way to access data resources like GEMPAK had accessed LDM servers.

Most surface data is stored in METeorological Aerodrome Reports (METARs) which can be difficult to parse because of inconsistent generation procedures. This presentation focuses on the new functions in MetPy parse the METARs from THREDDS servers and generate a single dataframe that can be used to create surface maps. With the declarative plotting interface, users can utilize GEMPAK-like syntax to create high quality maps. The simplified plotting functionality makes it easier for new users to Python to make publication-quality visualizations of surface data.

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