Program Reference




upaplot - Upper air plotting


upaplot [parameters...] filename


Command Line Resource Default Description
-h help No Lists basic help information.
-df=filename default wxp.cfg Sets the name of the resource file.
-na=name name the program name Specifies the name used in resource file parsing.
-me=level message out2 Specifies level of messages to be displayed
-fp=path file_path the current directory Specifies location of database files.
-dp=path data_path the current directory Specifies the location of the input raw data files.
-cp=path con_path the current directory Specifies location of decoded/converted data files
-rp=path raw_path the current directory Specifies location of output raw files generated by WXP.
-gp=path grid_path the current directory Specifies location of gridded output files from WXP.
-ip=path image_path the current directory Specifies location of output image files (.gif/,png) from WXP.
-nc=name_conv name_conv name.cnv or name_conv file This sets which name convention file to use.
-if=in_file in_file program specific Specifies the input file name tag.
-of=out_file out_file program specific Specifies the output file name tag.
-cf=filename city_file program specific Specifies the name of the city database file
-mf=filename... map_file wxp.map Specifies the name of the map database file. Multiple maps can be specified along with attributes to describe how to draw the map.
-cu=[hour] current none This specifies to use current data files.
-ho=hour hour none Specifies the exact hour that a data file is valid for.
-nh=hours[,skip] num_hour Value Generally 0 Specifies the number of hours worth of data to use in the program
-id=ident[,ident...] identifier None Specifies a station identifier to plot or parse for
-pd=domain plot_domain program dependent, mostly "us" Sets the plotting domain
-gd=domain grid_domain Same as the plot domain Specifies the output grid domain
-le=level level none Sets the vertical level
-va=variable variable none Sets the parameter/variable to be displayed
-oa=filter[,radinf][,passes][,converg][,min_stats] object_param program dependent
Specifies the objective analysis parameters
-pl=type plot_type Program dependent, normally user prompt Sets the type of output plot
-sc=type plot_scale 1.0 Specifies a scaling factor for all plotted text, symbols, vectors, etc.
-fm=format format None Specifies the output format of data.
-pa=param[,param...] parameter none Specifies addition parameters to program.
-dr=value[,value...] draw all Specifies which part of the plot is to be drawn.
-la=type label Program defaults Specifies the labels to be plotted around the plot. By default, labels are generated by the program and plotted above and below the plot. This resource overrides these labels.
-ci=value con_interval 0 Specifies the contour interval to use in contouring grids. This can also be used to color code plotted data and vectors.
-cb=value con_base lowest contour value, max wind speed or 0 depending on application Specifies the base value for color fill contours, and wind speed per grid distance.
-fl=font_file[,font_file...] font_list modern.fnt Specifies a list of fonts to use in the plots.
-ct=color_table color_table wxp.clr Specifies the color table to use in the plot. This maps color names to actual RGB color values.
-col=color[:attribute...] color_label white (black on inverse plots) Specifies the text color for labels above and below the plot.
-cod=color[:attribute...] color_data green (for most programs) Specifies the color for plotted data.
-com=color[:attribute...] color_map red (for most programs) Specifies the color for background maps.
-coll=color[:attribute...] color_latlon magenta:st=dsh Specifies the color for lat/lon lines.
-cofm=color[:attribute...] color_fmap black Specfies the map color for color fill plots.
-coco=color[:attribute...] color_cont white (black on inverse plots) Specifies color for line contours
color_fill magenta, lmagenta, blue, lblue, cyan, lcyan, green, lgreen, brown, yellow, red, lred, dgray, lgray, white Specifies the colors in the color fill contours.
-cocl=color[:attribute...] color_clabel white (black on inverse plots) Specifies color for line contour labels.
-cofl=color[:attribute...] color_flabel black Specifies color for color fill contour labels
-de=device[,parameters] device d for display Specifies the output device.
-ti=title title The name of the program or the value of the name resource Specifies the window title.
-ic icon off Specifies whether to open window in iconified mode.
-bg=color background black Specifies the background color of the window.
-ge=widthxheight[+x+y] geometry 640x512 (for windowed plots) Specifies the window and paper geometry.
filename (positional) filename none Specify input filename


This program plots upper air data on a background map. The input to the program is a upper air converted file produced by the prog:upadec program. Then, based on a plot domain and a variable selected by the user, a plot is generated. Overlay plots, contour plots and loops can also be generated if the appropriate options are set.

The programs starts off by prompting the user for input converted file name.  The user may specify the input file either via the command line of through the current resource. The input naming convention is specified by the upa_cvt tag but this can be changed with the in_file resource. To generate a loop, the num_hour resource can be specified. This will tell the program to loop through this number of hours.

Next, the program prompts the user for the vertical level to plot. This is done through a level menu which has predefined levels and a prompt so the user can specify a level.  The level resource can also be used. The levels are set up with the upairwx.lev file.

The domain defaults to the contiguous US unless changed through the plot_domain resource. The domain can be interactively changed using the mouse once the plot has been generated.

Next, the city database is read in and a cross-reference table is setup. Since converted data is not saved with location information, the program will refer to this table to location each station in the input file.

The program will now prompt the user for the particular output variable to plot. The program will show a menu of commonly used variables but many more are defined internally by the program and in the upairwx.var file. The internal variables are:

Internal Variables
Variable Description and units Plots
city All stations in the data file string
temp Temperature (F) value
dewp Dewpoint (F) value
dewd Dewpoint depression (F) value
wdir Wind direction (deg) value
wspd Wind speed (knt) value
wgst Wind gust (knt) value
Wind speed and direction (knt) value0=dir,
uwnd U wind component - EW relative (m/s) value
vwnd V wind component - NS relative (m/s) value
uwndg U wind component - grid relative (m/s) value
vwndg V wind component - grid relative (m/s) value
hght Geopotential height (m) value
hag Geopotential height above ground (m) value
pres Pressure (mb) value
pag Pressure above ground (mb) value
vpres Vapor pressure (mb) value
mrat Mixing ratio (g/kg) value
shum Specific humidity (g/kg) value
rhum Relative humidity (%) value
wetblb Wetbulb temperature (K) value
thetaw Wetbulb potential temperature (K) value
thetae Equivalent potential temperature (K) value
thetav Virtual potential temperature (K) value
theta Potential temperature (K) value
vtemp Virtual temperature (K) value
thick Thickness between two layers (m) value
frz Lowest freezing level (mb) -- height if units are km, m or ft value
wb0 Wet bulb zero (mb) -- height if units are km, m or ft value
ccl Convective condensation level (mb) -- height if units are km, m or ft value
convt Convective temperature (K) value
pwat Precipitable water (in) value
maxt Estimated maximum temperature (K) value
tlapse Potential temperature lapse rate (dK/m) value
tlapsep Potential temperature lapse rate over pressure (dK/mb) value
lapse Temperature lapse rate (dK/m) value
ststab Static stability (m^3/Pakg) value
tlapse Potential temperature lapse rate (dK/m) value
lift Lifted index (dC) -- parcel type dependent on level resource value
cap Cap strength (dC) -- parcel type dependent on level resource value
lcl Lifted condensation level (mb) -- parcel type dependent on level resource -- height if units are km, m or ft value
lfc Level of free convection (mb) -- parcel type dependent on level resource -- height if units are km, m or ft value
el Equilibrium level (mb) -- parcel type dependent on level resource -- height if units are km, m or ft value
mpl Maximum parcel level (mb) -- parcel type dependent on level resource -- height if units are km, m or ft value
cape Convective available potential energy (J/kg) -- parcel type dependent on level resource value
cinh Convective inhibition (J/kg) -- parcel type dependent on level resource value
show Showalter index (dC) value
tt Total totals index (dC) value
vtot Vertical totals index (dC) value
ctot Cross totals index (dC) value
ki K index () value
sweat Sweat index () value
ei Energy index (cal) value
shear Vertical wind shear (/s) -- layer can be adjusted with level resource value
pshr Positive - Vertical wind shear (/s) value
nshr Negative - Vertical wind shear (/s) value
sdir Estimated storm direction (deg) value
sspd Estimated storm speed (m/s) value
dshr Storm relative directional shear (deg) value
hel 0 - 3000 mb AG storm relative helicity (m^2/s^2) -- layer can be adjusted with level resource value
ehi Energy helicity index () value
brn Bulk Richardson number () value
bshr Bulk shear (m/s) value

These parameters can be accessed by name if they have not been redefined in the upairwx.var file. Otherwise, prepending a "+" to the variable name will guarantee these variables will appear.

There are several derived variables from this list which are defined in the upairwx.var file. These include composite plots, overlay plots and computed grids.

Derived/Composite Variables
Variable Description Plots
all All data, a composite plot of temperature, dewpoint, geopotential height (3 digit) and winds comp
all0 Same as all except heights in 10 meters (useful for higher level plots) comp
allh Same as all except all digits of heights are shown comp
alld Same as all except dewpoint depression is plotted instead of dewpoint comp
alld0 Same as all0 except dewpoint depression is plotted instead of dewpoint comp
allp Same as all except that pressure is plotted instead of height comp
wind A vector quantity of <uwndg,vwndg> vector
vect Wind vector plot vector
strm Streamline plot vector
ugeos U geostrophic wind component (m/s) grid
vgeos V geostrophic wind component (m/s) grid
geos Geostrophic winds -- vector quantity of <ugeos,vgeos> vector
gspd Geostrophic wind speed (m/s) grid
ageos Ageostrophic winds vector
avect Ageostrophic wind vectors (m/s) vector
uq U component of the Q vector grid
vq V component of the Q vector grid
qvect Q vectors vector
qvconv Q vector convergence grid
spres Station pressure (mb) value
th50 1000-500 mb thickness (m) value
mrat Mixing ratio (g/kg) to 1 decimal place value
shum Specific humidity (g/kg) to 1 decimal place value
conv Wind convergence (/s) positive is convergence grid
mconv Moisture convergence (/s) grid
rvort Relative vorticity (/s) grid
avort Absolute vorticity (/s) grid
tadv Temperature advection (K/s) grid
madv Moisture advection (/s) grid
vadv Vorticity advection (/s^2) grid

The program will now open the graphics window and start processing the data. The user will be prompted for the output device. Then the converted file is opened and data read in. Any additional computations are performed and the data are plotted. The background map will plot first unless the output is a color fill contour in which the map plots last. If a simple plot is specified such as "temp", the data will be plotted to 0 decimal places on the map. Formatting of the number can be done with the plot_format resource.  Composite plots can either be specified with the variable resource (.var file, resource file, command line or variable prompt).  The variable resource allows the user to control much of the data formatting.  

When the plot is complete, output can be saved to a GIF image file, spooled to the printer or the plot can be zoomed.  When zooming the image, the plot will redraw to the new domain.  It will also add more stations to the plot depending on the size of the domain. When the user is finished with the plot, the enter key can be hit which closes the window and returns the user to the variable prompt.

Contour/Vector Plots

By default, this program plots data but it can produce grids that can either be contoured or plotted as vectors or streamlines. By specifying the plot_type resource to a contour or vector type, the program will generate gridded fields rather than plotting the data.  The gridding process uses an objective analysis scheme to produce the grids. The parameters for this process are specified in the object_param resource. Once the grids have been created, the maximum and minimum of the grid are displayed for the user to pick an appropriate contour interval. Then, the contour or vector plot will display in much the same fashion as for the data plot.

There are several plot types.  For contour plots, there is:

For vectors:

Output Files

By default, this program does not produce output files.  If a raw or grid file output is desired, use the out_file resource to enable this.  By default, this will create a WXP ASCII raw or grid file depending on the plot type.  The out_file can be a filename, a file tag (lookup in file name convention file) or a name convention (with wildcards). The output can be GIF file by specifying gif as the file type. It may be desirable to turn plotting of when producing output files. To do this, specify none for the plot_type resource.


upairwx -cu=la -le=850 -va=all -de=d

This plots a 850 mb composite plot containing temperature, dewpoint, geopotential height and winds for the contiguous US.

   upairwx -cu=la -le=850-500mb -va=temp -de=d

This plots the mean temperature for the layer of 850 to 500 mb.

   upairwx -cu=la -le=320k -va=allp -de=d

This plots a composite plot for the 320 K isentropic surface. In this case, the composite plot includes the pressure, not the height.

   upairwx -cu=la -le=700mb -va=temp -of=raw -pl=none

This will generate raw file based on the upa_raw name convention.  A specific filename can be used instead of raw.

   upairwx -cu=la -le=100m_ag -va=temp -pl=cf -in=2 -de=d

This will produce a contour plot of 100 meter above ground temperatures.  Without the "-pl=cf", the program will just plot the temperature data.



Last updated November 2013