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Decoding TAF reports

Reading TAF reports is not very difficult, it is a form of easy readable short formatted text. It takes some time to get used to understanding these abbreviations but this learning process will happen very quickly. Below we have a table with some examples of TAF reports.

Apart from our example, see the next link to obtain a current TAFs or METARs from other airports around the globe. For a more detailed explanation see this METAR/TAF manual. Note: end of 2008 (Nov, 5) some changes were made to the TAF format.

To obtain current weather reports, click here for our METAR/TAF tool!

Decoding Table - Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts

Get a current TAF report nearby and compare it with our decoding table presented here:

Code ElementExampleDecodeNotes
Report typeTAF'TAF'Name for this aerodrome forecast
LocationEHRD'Rotterdam Airport'Station four letter ICAO indicator
Date/Time of report130500Z'13th at 05:00 Z'Day of the month and Z time
Validity time130716'Valid at 13th from 07Z to 16Z'All in UTC
Wind23017G22KT'Wind from 230 at 17 kts gusts 22 kts'VRB=variable, 00000KT=calm
Visibility or 'CAVOK'5000'5 km'9999=10 km or more, 0000 less than 50 m
Significant WX-TSSHRA'Thunderstorm with light rain showers'See weather table
'Few at 500', 'Scattered at 1000'' 'Scattered Cumulonimbus at 1800'' 'Broken at 3000''SKC=sky clear, FEW=1-2 octas, SCT=3-4 octas, BKN=5-7 octas OVC=8 octas VV=state of sky obscured (numbers after VV give vertical visibility), NSC=no significant cloud (none below 5000' and no CB)
Significant changes
ProbabilityPROB40'40% probability'Usually 30% or 40% is used
Time1700'from 1700Z to 0000Z'Indicates the beginning and the end time of the forecast period in UTC or Z time
Change IndicatorBECMG 1420
FM 1700
'becoming from 1400Z to 2000Z'
'from 1700Z to 0000Z'
TEMPO is also used to indicate temporarily
MET groups+TSRA
'Thunderstorm with heavy rain' 'Broken Cumulonimbus clouds at 1500' 'MET groups give the weather indicated for the Change indicator

To complete this we have included a fictional TAF from Amsterdam/Schiphol airport:

Long TAF example

2015/12/22 10:45
TAF EHAM 221045Z 221818 VRB02KT 9999 BKN025
BECMG 1921 6000 BR
BECMG 2123 4000 MIFG
TEMPO 0010 1200 BCFG SCT002 PROB30 0009 0400 FG VV002
BECMG 0911 2000 BKN003
BECMG 1215 5000 BKN007


Long TAF issued at 2015/12/22 10:45Z
Amsterdam Schiphol valid from 1800Z to 1800Z next day, variable wind at 2 kts, visibility more than 10 km, broken clouds at 2500'
- becoming between 1900Z and 2100Z 6 km visibility with brume
- becoming between 2100Z and 2300Z 4 km visibility with shallow fog
- temporary change between 0000Z and 1000Z 1200 m visibility and fog patches, scattered clouds at 200'
- 30% probability between 0000Z and 0900 visibility 400 m with fog, vertical visibility 200 m
- becoming between 0900Z and 1100Z 2 km visibility, broken clouds at 300'
- becoming between 1200Z and 1500Z 5 km visibility, broken clouds at 700'

Another example of a METAR/TAF decoder can be found in this Eurocontrol METAR/TAF Guide.

Written by EAI.

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