SOP Number & Name

5050 ASOS (Observer updates observations using ASOS)


Is a part of the observation process-entering data from ASOS onto the CMW.

Who does this procedure?


How often?

Once an hour, or as needed.

Frequency of reference to the SOP

Never again once you know it. You refer to it only when troubleshooting.


This SOP is followed exactly. It is simple.

Action sequence:

        Conducted every hour, unless ASOS data suggest a big change, or the change is noticed in the data or out the window.

        Changes that require an observation to be taken - rain begins, thunderstorm begins, ceiling leaves, ceiling comes in, etc. - same list as for amending forecasts.

        Observer reads observations off of ASOS.

        Observer copies the observations onto an Observations sheet.

        Observer sends the observations to METOC home page - keyed into a field through Microsoft Express and then FTP'd to the Homepage.

        Observer sends the observations out via the CMW.

        Observer sends the observations to Pensacola Regional Airport.

        Observer passes a Form 10 to the Lead Forecaster.


What supports the action sequence?


What is the needed information?



Microsoft Frontpage Express

Time, winds, ceiling, visibility, sky condition, temperature, dewpoint, air pressure, or anything that is noticed.


What is good or useful about the support and the depiction of needed information?


        The update involves simple typing of text.

        Is an easy set of routine steps.

        Use of the Internet keeps pilots from calling in since they can see the information on the METOC home page.


What about the support or information depiction makes the action sequence difficult?


        Multiple criteria for change detection--e.g., a 1,000 ft change in ceiling, visibility goes from "unrestricted" to "fog," winds change angle by x in less than one hour, winds greater than 10 knots, etc.

        Observer has to know the amendments list cold.

        Sometimes need to look up the threshold rules in a notebook called the "Quick Ready Reference," when rare things happen like summer fog - you get rusty.

        Or things that don't happen regularly, like fronts in the summer - the threshold rule is wind change - for the first front in a season, you are rusty.

        The QRR is obviously heavily used (frayed edges).

        It would help to keep the information online: it would be easier if it were all in an electronic medium - you could view everything in the same format and convert alpha-numerics to graphics.

        ASOS gives alerts based on the threshold rules, but the auditory alert is very soft.

        ASOS data can be unreliable and invalid.

        The Observation Sheet is a cumbersome table of cramped alpha-numerics.



Concept Mapping Toolkit
Insitute for Human and Machine Cognition
The University of West Florida