Wx Info: Reading a Skew-T

Reading a Skew-T chart is really easy once you get accustomed to the layout. It is just like reading a line graph, only part of the chart is at an angle.

0z NAM 21z Mon SkewT
Really, you only need to worry about two lines. The red line is the temperature line, the green line is the dewpoint. When they are really close together like this, it means the atmosphere is saturated. And chances are, it is raining.

When the lines are far apart, the atmosphere isn’t saturated. And can be quite dry.

Skew-T with non-saturated area of the atmosphere
Skew-T with non-saturated area of the atmosphere

In this Skew-T there is a layer of pretty dry air just above the surface, and up to about 600mb.

The numbers (1000, 850, 700, etc) on the side are altitude in the atmosphere based on air pressure, millibars. The 1000 is near the ground while the 300 is roughly 20,000 feet up. The numbers on the bottom are the temperature in Celsius. And the lines connect the temperature at different altitudes. But it isn’t read like a normal line graph. The temperatures are slanted right at an angle(You just follow the shaded grey line).

In the above example, the temperatures are as follows

Surface: 11C
850mb: 10C
700mb: 5C
500mb: -12C
250mb -50C

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Nick is a weather nerd to the core. He graduated from Oregon State University n 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science with an emphasis in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. In 2010, he decided that he wanted to pair his love of journalism with his passion for weather. So, he enrolled at Syracuse University to earn his Masters of Science in Broadcast & Digital Journalism.After forecasting for Syracuse, New York and Amarillo, Texas he is now in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.