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10.3.2 FKey Menu Exercises

In the McIDAS Basics exercises, you were typing commands to create plots and contours. In this exercise, you will use the Unidata F Key Menu to create plots and displays.

  1. Start up McIDAS with 17 frames. Edit your .mcidasrc file and add a line -f 17 to start your sessions with 17 frames.

    Type: mcidas

  2. Start up the menu.


The following exercises are designed to introduce you to the functionality and flexibility of the Unidata F Key Menu system.

Simple Plots/Contours


  1. Display a loop of the GOES-East Infrared images earth centered over Washington, D.C. (DCA) with a blowup factor of 2.

  2. Display the latest Educational Floater image with an area centered load at line 350 and element 432 using a blow down factor of 2.

    Point Source Data

  3. Determine the time of the latest available surface data. Is the data current on your system?

  4. Plot a surface map of temperatures over Colorado using the latest available data.

  5. Plot a 500 mb station model plot over the U.S. for 00 UTC today. Overlay 500 mb height contours for the same time on the plot.

    Gridded Data

  6. Determine the time of the latest available Early Domestic Product (NGM) grids on your system. Is the data current?

  7. Change the default background map to a North American map in CONFormal projection with latitude/longitude lines.

  8. Put up a loop of the latest NGM Sea Level Pressure contours. Overlay the 1000-500 mb thickness contours using DASHed lines. Overlay the contours of precipitation on the loop.

    Meteorological Diagrams

  9. Plot the available upper air stations for 00 UTC today over the U.S.

  10. Plot a meteorogram for a station of your choosing. If you don't know a 4 letter station ID, plot a map of the available stations for a region.

  11. Plot a Multiple Station 8-hour Space-Time Graph from LaGuardia Airport, New York (KLGA) to Dulles International, Virginia (KIAD).

Weather Text

  1. List out the latest decoded surface observations for the state of Colorado.

  2. List today's decoded observations for Denver (KDEN).

  3. List the decoded upper air data for Green Bay, Wisconsin for either 00 or 12 today. Use the MSL command to find the station ID.

  4. List out the raw (undecoded) upper air sounding for Green Bay for the same time.

  5. Display the state forecast for Alabama. Display the forecast discussion for Colorado.

Changing Menu System Parameters

  1. Change the output frame for profiler data to be frame 1. Plot a cross section of profiler data for Platteville, Colorado.

  2. Change the data bar for images to be displayed HORizontally instead of VERtically. Display the latest GOES-West Infrared image on frame 6. How do you know that it is on frame 6?

  3. Change the default background map to be a North American CONFormal projection TOPOgraphic image earth centered at 40° N and 98 ° W with no change in resolution and no latitude/longitude lines.

  4. Overlay the NGM 500 mb 12 hr forecast Geopotential heights on the new background map.

  5. Change the list of current data plot types to surface (ISFC), ship (ISHP), upper air (IRAB) and NGM MOS (FO14). Plot a map of the current data availability for these data types.

  6. Reset the default Menu Strings without changing the newly defined background map.

Complex Plots/Functions

  1. Display a cross section of potential temperature and wind speed through the Global Model (MRF) output on a line from 10° N to 80° N along longitude 104° W. Overlay the 500 mb heights from the Global Model grids on the map in the upper right corner of the cross section plot.

  2. Display the latest GOES-East/West Water Vapor Composite.

  3. Erase the graphics in the frame. Use the EB option in the menu to change the contrast stretch of the image in the frame. End the EB command and restore the default enhancement to the frame.

  4. Display a loop of GOES-East images. Overlay fronts on each frame of the loop using the times associated with each frame. Overlay negative lighting flashes on the loop as well.

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