Historic Wind Data for various altitudes


Senior Member.
Often, to prove a UFO report is really about a wind-blown object, it is necessary to access historic wind data for a certain location and a certain altitude.

Wind direction in degrees has 0 for North, 90 for East, 180 for South, 270 for West, etc. Wind speed is often given in knots.


This is a fun, interactive way to do it:
Use earth.nullschool.net. The altitude is probably somewhere between 850mb (1450m) and 700mb (3000m), you can change the date and time, and then click on the map and edit the URL to set an exact location, like


This essentially incorporates the sounding data, but creates a more detailed model that should be more accurate for other locations.


You can also fill out a form and download data from Copernicus, the Earth Observation component of the European Union’s Space programme, via the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts:
Average wind means nothing, it depends on the location first, and the weather varies a lot in one location.

I've downloaded precise weather data for January 20 and 21 2015. Hourly data from one of the best global weather data reanalysis, ERA5. It's from the UK Met Office.

It gives the altitude of isobars (hectopascals hPa), so I can find what the wind was at a certain altitude. The closest isobar for 13000ft, off the Jacksonville area, is 600hPa (it's more 14000ft, but closest isobar available). For 25000ft, it's 400hPa (more 24000ft, but closest isobar available).

Here is the wind speed at the two levels (GoFast and F-18), on Jan21 1UTC (would be 8pm local). Not very strong yet off Jacksonville (but already ~120 Knots at upper-levels >30K ft, not shown).

Weather Balloon​

The radiosonde is a small instrument package that is suspended below balloon filled with either hydrogen or helium. As the radiosonde is carried aloft, it measures pressure, temperature, and relative humidity.

These sensors are linked to a battery-powered radio transmitter that sends the information to a ground receiver. By tracking the position of the radiosonde in flight via GPS (Global Positioning System), measurements of wind speed and direction aloft is also obtained.

Worldwide, most radiosonde observations are taken daily at 00Z and 12Z (6 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST) .

You can find the closest rawinsonde (weather balloon) via http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html:
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If anyone knows an easy way to access the global data set, please post below! (uwyo.edu's regions are partially incomplete; Ogimet has more soundings, but they're raw and need to be decoded.)


Finally, you could access a Meteorological Aerodrome Report (METAR) archive. A METAR is an aviation weather reports typically compiled by an airport metereologist; these go way back. It only has surface wind because that's relevant for runway operations.
Surface Wind

The mean wind direction in degrees true to the nearest 10 degrees, from which the wind is blowing and the mean wind speed in knots over the 10 minute period immediately preceding the observation e.g. 35015KT = 350 degrees true/15 kts; VRB05KT = variable/5 kts; 00000 = CALM. If gusts exceed the mean wind speed by 10kts or more in the 10 minutes preceding the time of the report, a letter G and 2 more figures are added to indicate the maximum wind speed e.g. 23018G30KT = 230 degrees true/18 kts gusting to a maximum of 30 kts. Reports may express wind speed in metres per second ('MPS) or Kilometres per hour (KPH). Winds greater than 100 kts or more shall be preceded by the letter P and reported as P99KT or P99MPS or P199KPH.

https://www.ogimet.com/metars.phtml.en :
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There's even older data at Iowa State, but the output format is a bit strange. https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/request/download.phtml
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Note that you need to pick a network by state or country. Then pick a station from the network and click "add selected", or you'll get data for the whole network, which can be a bit much.
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You can also fill out a form and download data from Copernicus, the Earth Observation component of the European Union’s Space programme, via the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts:
A similar resource can be found at NOAA https://psl.noaa.gov/data/gridded/data.ncep.reanalysis.html
NOAA data has a worse spatial and temporal resolution, though.

It allows both plotting some variables, and also downloading data.

Both Copernicus and NOAA can provide netcdf files, that can be read with GrADS ( http://cola.gmu.edu/grads/ ). This program is available in repositories of some linux distributions.