Surface Analysis Features
The above map looks at what is known as ceilings. The definition of ceilings is the first broken or overcast layer of cloud cover in the atmosphere. For it to be considered a ceiling the clouds need to cover more than half of the sky. If we look at the red circled area we see the numbers of 1 and 2. This tells us that there is a ceiling at 1,000-2,000ft which are in the level of low clouds such as cumulus or stratus.
The second is the black circle found in the Dakota’s. Here we are looking at numbers of 80-120 meaning that the ceiling is between 8,000-12,000ft, this would be mid-level clouds such as Alto-cumulus and Alto-stratus.
The third spot is the purple circle just north of the lakes. These numbers inside show up at 230-250 meaning that the ceiling is between 23,000-25,000ft. These types of clouds are called Cirrus clouds.
By knowing this information, we as meteorologists can provide better data to pilots so they can be prepared for what to expect while flying in the atmosphere.