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Time and Level Menu File (.tim and .lev)

Most plotting is done by specifying a variable to plot. The variable is then used by the program to select data from the input data file. In general, the type of output is specified by resources such as plot_type, color_data, or plot_format. In its simplest form, the variable file acts just the same as the time and level menu files.  The biggest difference is the last column which represents the variable information. This column allows for variable aliasing, composite plots and overlay products.

Each program that uses the variable resource and/or has a variable menu has its own .var file. For example, sfcwx has a variable file named sfcwx.var.  The program then parsing this file to determine how to process each variable request.  


This file is a list of variables and each variable has a list of commands which specify which variable to plot and how to plot it. The syntax of each line in the file is:

   Abbrev    Name      Toggle   


  • Abbrev -- This define an abbreviation which is used to define the variable for use in the variable resource.
  • Name -- this is the text to be used in the menu listing. No spaces are allowed but underscores "_" can be used in their place.
  • Toggle -- this is a menu toggle which defines when the menu item will appear.  This can be one of the following:
    • 1 -- the item always appears
    • 0 -- the item never appears. This is not useful in a menu file but is in a variable file.
    • mo=model -- a model type. This is the string specified by the model resource.
    • ft=time -- a forecast time. This is a string either specified by the time resource or at the time menu prompt
    • le=level -- a vertical level.  This is a string either specified by the level resource or at the level menu prompt

    Wildcard characters are permitted.   Each of the above strings can be logically and'd or or'd.

    . or ? match a single character
    * match any character
    [letters] match a single character from the set.
    [^letters] match any character except those from the set.
    str match string
    ~str true if doesn't match string
    str1|str2... match a set or strings (logical or). Pipe "|" separates strings
    str1&str2... match all strings (logical and). Ampersand "&" separates strings
    _ underscore matches a space.

A simple level menu entry will look like:

250mb  250_mb            mo=~mrf*


  • 250mb -- is the name used for the level resource "-le=250mb".   These should match specifications of the level or time resource.
  • 250_mb -- is the menu label which will show up in the level menu
  • mo=~mrf* -- specifies that this item will only appear if the model name does not start with "mrf"


Here is a sample time menu file:

init    Initial         mo=ngm|eta|avn*
h06     6_hour          mo=ngm|eta|avn*
h12     12_hour         mo=ngm|eta|avn*
h18     18_hour         mo=ngm|eta|avn*
h24     24_hour         mo=ngm|eta|avn*
h30     30_hour         mo=ngm|eta|avn*
h36     36_hour         mo=ngm|eta|avn*
h42     42_hour         mo=ngm|eta|avn*
h48     48_hour         mo=ngm|eta|avn*
h60     60_hour         mo=avn*
h72     72_hour         mo=avn*
e3      3.5_day         mo=mrf*
d4      4_day           mo=mrf*     

For example, the 12 hour menu will display whenever the model type is ngm or eta or any match of a avn model. This goes against the model resource value.

Here is a sample level menu file:

sfc    Surface           mo=eta
1000mb 1000_mb           1
850mb  850_mb            mo=~mrf*
700mb  700_mb            mo=~mrf*
500mb  500_mb            1
400mb  400_mb            mo=~mrf*
300mb  300_mb            mo=~mrf*
250mb  250_mb            mo=~mrf*
200mb  200_mb            mo=~mrf*
150mb  150_mb            mo=~mrf*
100mb  100_mb            mo=~mrf*
trop   Tropopause        mo=avn*|ngm
wind   Max_wind          mo=avn*|ngm
snd    Whole_sounding    mo=~mrf*           

In this case, the 1000 mb and 500 mb items always appear.  The surface item only appears for the eta model. The 850 mb item only appears if the model is not of type mrf.  In other words, if the model value starts with mrf, this item won't appear.


For further information about WXP, email technical-support@weather.unisys.com
Last updated by Dan Vietor on August 11, 1998