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ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Weather Symbols and Synoptic Charts

  • After weather measurements have been taken at weather stations
  • they are then plotted onto synoptic charts.
  • These charts make use of special symbols as a form of pre-agreed shorthand that is used to show the weather conditions at a given place at a given time.
  • A synoptic chart is any map that summarizes atmospheric conditions.
  • It shows temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure and cloud coverage over a large area on a given day for example Harare.
  • By combining the information over a wide area and plotting it onto a map, meteorologists can observe the behavior and movement of weather formations that might affect their local area in the future.
  • There are many different types of weather map, all drawn using internationally agreed standards and using accepted symbols.
Synoptic Chart Symbols.

Synoptic Chart Symbols. Image by the BBC.

You should familiarize yourself with these symbols as question will most certainly come in the exam asking you to describe the weather patterns shown on maps using these symbols.

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