Airports | Flying lessons | Explanation

METAR, TAF and NOTAM decoder for all 56,578 airports

METAR-TAF.com is about METAR and TAFs. Both are prepared for aviation and contain weather information that pilots need. They mainly contain information about the weather, but also information about the runway conditions. But what's the difference and how do you use them?

METAR, TAF or SPECI

A METAR (METeorological Aerodrome Report) is an observation and provides information about the current weather. Sometimes a METAR also gives a short-term forecast. A TAF (Terminal Area Forecast) provides a forecast for a longer period, for example 8, 24 or 36 hours. In addition to the METAR and TAF, there is also a SPECI (special). This is prepared when the weather has changed such that an interim observation is issued.

What is a METAR?

A METAR (METeorological Aerodrome Report) is an observation and provides information about the current weather. A TAF (Terminal Area Forecast) provides a forecast for a longer period, for example 8, 24 or 36 hours. Both are prepared for aviation and contain weather information that pilots need.

Preparation

A METAR is prepared by a meteorologist or automatically. Sometimes a METAR is automatically prepared and then checked or supplemented by a meterologist. Most weather stations provide a new observation every half hour.

Distribution

After compilation, the METAR is distributed in an encrypted format. That seems very outdated in the year 2021, but it is not. A lot of information can be passed on with few characters. This is done in a standardized way to avoid misunderstandings. The information from one round (cycle) of all approximately 4,200 measuring stations together is still about 3 Mb.

Limitations

Yet encrypted METAR and TAFs do have their limitations.Sometimes it is difficult to quickly visualize all the information it contains.

  • A METAR or TAF can be set up with other units than you are used to and you have to convert.
  • 50 codes are used for weather phenomena and the condition of the runways. You don't use most of them on a daily basis, which makes it difficult to remember them all.
  • Times are in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time): the time in London without daylight saving time. For countries far removed from this (North and South America, Asia, Australia), this provides quite a bit of calculations.
  • A METAR does not provide information about wind components. You cannot see at a glance whether there is a head or tail wind. You also cannot see whether there is a crosswind: from which direction, at what speed. You can of course calculate this with a few rules of thumb or a sine / cosine, but that is not convenient.
These shortcomings are overcome by METAR decoders such as METAR-TAF.com.

Interactive map

The interactive map shows the most recent data from all METAR stations in the world. Airports without a weather station are marked with a blue dot. Click on a field to view the METAR, TAF and NOTAMs. If there is no METAR station on that airport, we will show the closest METAR in combination with the runways of the chosen space. In addition to a decoded METAR and TAF, you will also see the crosswind components.

Color codes

The color codes you see on the site are calculated based on the visibility values ​​and cloud base. These color codes do not tell anything about the temperature, wind, type of clouds and other warnings. On the map above you only see the first letter of the color code.

Code Visibility Ceiling
VFR Visual Flight Rules > 5 mi > 3,000 ft
MVFR Marginal VFR 3-5 mi 1,000‑3,000 ft
IFR Instrument Flight Rules 1-3 mi 500‑1,000 ft
LIFR Low IFR < 1 mi < 500 ft

Search function

Use the search function to find the METAR, TAF and NOTAM of a specific airfield. You can search by the name of the field or the ICAO code.

Click to center on your current position. For this it's of course necessary to share your location with us. Click again on to open the METAR of the nearest airport.

Advanced search for airports can be done via the Index of all airports

Free account

Sign up for a free account to set and save your preferences. You can set a home base to center the map automatically and you can change all units. Certain functions are only available for logged in users, such as extensive historical METAR data.

Disclaimer

The information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Operational use is at your own risk.

  • METAR and TAF data is downloaded from the NOAA.
  • NOTAM information is provided by the FAA.
  • Airport data, runway and country information is combined from several open source databases, with amendments from our contributors.

About METAR-TAF.com

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