/Planning & Performance
  /Hazards in Aviation
   /Winds & Turbulence

Wake Turbulence

Turbulent Weather

If pilots are to assess if their flight is going to be in any way affected by turbulence it is imperative that they can read the signs. They must familiarize themselves with all available meteorological information concerning their flight and be able to read the reports and forecasts.

For a good evaluation of turbulence the pilot needs certain types of weather information. Necessary are observations, forecasts and any advisories and weather warnings like AIRMETs or SIGMETs. In this space we will see what kind kind of turbulence information can be extracted from these information sources.

Weather Information

As said previously, key weather information for the pilot is in observations, forecast and advisories. The pilot must be able to discriminate all weather data for relevant information, sections below gives some hints.


This table shows you which weather report or map can be used to interpret to obtain certain types turbulence.

Weather Observation Analysis
SurfaceSurface Analysis Chart, Weather Depiction chartLLT, TNT, MWT
SoundingsConstant Pressure, Tropopause Data, Composite Moisture / Stability, Winds Aloft ChartsLLT, TNT, MWT, CAT
RadarRadar Summary, Coded Radar Weather ReportsLLT, TNT
SatelliteInfrared & Visual ImagesLLT, TNT, MWT, CAT
Pilot ReportsPIREPs (UA)LLT, TNT, MWT, CAT

Jeppesen produces a turbulence analysis map which shows any turbulence from FL200 up to FL450 combined with AIRMETs/PIREPs and maximum winds, this is a valuable resource. We have them on site in our weather section.


Most aviation forecasts are valid for a period of 24 hours ahead of present or reported time. Some report even further ahead but detail and accuracy suffer. From these reports the position of fronts, jet streams and macro scale waves can be used to identify possible future turbulence issues.

A number of weather products used are: Area and Terminal Forecast, Winds and Temperature Aloft, Low Level Surface, High Level Significant Weather Prog, Convective / Severe Weather Lookouts. Depending on the altitude of the flight the pilot can use some or all of these charts to assess the possible turbulence.

Advisory & Warnings

Available inflight weather advisories and warning are in the table below, note that some may not be available in your country.

Advisory & Warnings
Convective SIGMET (WST)TNT
Severe Weather Watch (AWW)TNT
Meteorological Impact Statement (MIS)LLT, TNT, MWT, CAT
Center Weather Advisory (CWA)LLT, TNT, MWT, CAT

Legend: LLT - Low Level Turbulence; TNT - Thunderstorms, MWT - Mountain Wave; CAT - Clear Air Turbulence

When reading any report make sure that you check its validity time and period and when it was issued. Old data sometimes stays in the system just because an airport closed and no new reports are available.

For preliminary preflight planning common radio station reports may be used. Just keep in mind that these reports are tailored at the non aviation user and usually do not include any turbulence data, let alone cloud bases or visibility.

Written by EAI.

Enjoyed our Website? 

If you enjoyed and found value in our site, consider becoming a member. With your help this website can keep growing as a source of information for all aviation enthusiasts!

Become our Patron