850 mb Heights and Temps
upper air data

This panel shows the most recent 850mb observations for geopotential height and temperature. 850mb charts depict conditions in the lower troposphere (roughly 1500 meters).

Geopotential height approximates the actual height of a pressure surface above mean sea-level and is represented by the solid light blue contours. The geopotential height field is given in meters with an interval of 30 meters between height lines. The locations of surface cyclones and anticyclones hold similar positions in the 850 mb geopotential height field.

Lines of constant temperature, or isotherms, are represented by the dashed yellow contours and are drawn at intervals of 5 degrees Celsius. Temperature at 850 mb does not experience the diurnal variation (changes with the rising and setting of the sun) as seen at the surface, so this is a good indicator where warm air and cold air is really located. Precipitation type can also be estimated from the 850 mb temperature field. Snow is likely to occur where the 850 temps are below freezing (zero and below), while liquid precipitation is found at warmer temperatures.

Terms for using data resources. CD-ROM available.
Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.