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prfplt - Profiler data plotting program


prfplt [parameters...] filename


Command Line Resource Default Description
-h help No Lists basic help information.
-df=filename default .wxpdef Sets the name of the resource file.
-na=name name prfplt Specifies the name used in resource file parsing.
-ba batch No Run program in batch mode
-me=level message out2 Specifies level of messages to be displayed
  • file information - mess
-fp=filepath file_path current directory Specifies location of database files.  
-dp=datapath data_path current directory Specifies the location (path) of the input raw data files. This may be modified in the name convention file.
-cp=conpath con_path current directory Specifies the location (path) of the input surface converted data files. This may be modified in the name convention file.
-rp=rawpath raw_path current directory Specifies the location of the output raw files generated by the program. These files will not be generated unless the out_file resource is specified and the output is plotted data.
-gp=gridpath grid_path current directory Specifies the location of the output grid files generated by the program. These files are not generated unless the out_file resource is specified and the output is a gridded field.
-ip=imagepath image_path current directory Specifies the default location of the output GIF images generated by the program.
-nc=name_conv name_conv name_conv The name convention file specifies how files are named in WXP. This sets which name convention file to use.
-if=in_file in_file prf_dat Specifies the input file name tag. The default is prf_dat, but it can be modified to any value in the filename convention file. A full name convention can be specified as well.
-mf=mapfile[,...] map_file wxp.map or
cont.dat, country.dat for domains outside North America
Specifies the name of the map database file. Multiple maps can be specified along with attributes to describe how to draw the map.
-cu=[hour|la] current None This specifies to use current data files. The current filename is based on the name convention. An optional hour can be specified for older data. If la is specified, the program will search back to find the most recent available file.
-ho=hour hour None This resource specifies the exact hour that a data file is valid for. This locks in the start hour for a multi-file sequence.
-nh=num_hour num_hour 12 This specifies the number of hours that will be used in the plot. If this is not specified, a 12 hour plot will appear.
-id=identifier identifier None
User prompt
Specifies the station to plot. If specified, a time cross section will be plotted.
-pd=domain plot_domain None
Batch: first domain in wxp.reg file.
This specifies the plotting domain. The projection, aspect ratio and the domain size are specified.
-re=region region Same as plot domain This resource is synonymous with the plot_domain.
-le=level level None This specifies the level to use in horizontal cross-sections. By default, a time cross-section is plotted. If this resource is specified, a horizontal cross-section will be generated.
-va=variable variable User prompt
Batch: first variable listed in the prfplt.var file
This specifies the variable to plot along with its formatting attributes. A list of valid variables is given below.
-sc=scale_factor plot_scale 1.0 Specifies a scaling factor for all plotted text, symbols, vectors, etc.
-fm=format plot_format None Specifies the output format of the plots.  This is generally used to specify how many decimal places get displayed on the plot and in the output raw files.
-pp=param[,param...] plot_param None Specifies additional plotting parameters. See the plot_param resource for more details.
-dr=drawable[,...] draw all Specifies which part of the plot is to be drawn.
-la=label[,...] label Program defaults Specifies the labels to be plotted around the plot. By default, labels are generated by the program and plotted above and below the plot. This resource overrides these labels.
-in=interval con_interval None for plots, User prompt for grids. Batch: 0 Specifies the contour interval to use in contouring grids. This can also be used to color code plotted data and vectors.
-cb=base con_base Lowest contour value, maximum wind speed Specifies the base value for color fill contours, and wind speed per grid distance. For more details, see the con_base resource.
-fl=font_list font_list modern.fnt Specifies a list of fonts to use in the plots.
-ct=color_table color_table wxp.clr Specifies the color table to use in the plot. This maps color names to actual RGB color values.
-cot=color[:attr] color_text white
for inverse plots.
Specifies the text color for labels above and below the plot.
-cod=color[:attr] color_data green Specifies the color for plotted data.
-com=color[:attr] color_map red Specifies the color for background maps.
-coln=color[:attr] color_line magenta:st=dsh Specifies the color for lat/lon lines.
-cowd=color[:attr] color_wind white
for inverse plots.
Specifies the color for wind barbs.
-cof=[val:]color[:attr],... color_fill A predefined color set based on the wxp.clr color table Specifies the color fill contour color set. See the color_fill resource for more details.
-de=device[,...] device User prompt
Batch: display
Specifies the output device.
-ti=title title Program name Specifies the window title.
-ic icon Off Specifies whether to open window in iconified mode.
-bg=color background black
white for inverse plots
Specifies the background color of the window.
-ge=geometry geometry 640x480 Specifies the window and paper geometry.
filename[#seq] filename None
User Pompt
Batch: current=la
The name of the surface converted data file to be plotted. An optional sequence number can be added to designate the time for non-WXP files.


This program plots profiler data. There are two types of output for the program. The first is a time cross-section using a series of profiler data files.  The second mode is a horizontal cross-section at a specified level.  By default, a time cross-section will be plotted. If a level is specified with the level resource, a horizontal cross-section will be plotted. surface data on a background map. The input to the program is a profiler data file.

The programs starts off by prompting the user for input profiler file name.  The user may specify the input file either via the command line of through the current resource. The input naming convention is specified by the prf_dat tag but this can be changed with the in_file resource. For time cross-sections, the num_hour resource is used to set the number of hours in the cross-section.  The default is 12 hours.

For time cross-sections, the program will now prompt the user for a profiler station to use.

The program will now prompt the user for the particular output variable to plot. The program will show a menu of commonly used variables but many more are defined internally by the program and in the prfplt.var file. The internal variables are:

Internal Variables
Variable Description and units
city All stations in the data file
temp Temperature (C) -- surface level only
dewp Dewpoint (C) -- surface level only
dewd Dewpoint depression (C) -- surface level only
wdir Wind direction (deg)
wspd Wind speed (knt)
Wind speed and direction (knt)
uwnd U wind component - EW relative (m/s)
vwnd V wind component - NS relative (m/s)
vvel Vertical velocity (m/s)
shear Vertical wind shear (/s) -- layer can be adjusted with level resource
hel 0 - 3000 mb AG storm relative helicity (m^2/s^2) -- layer can be adjusted with level resource

These parameters can be accessed by name if they have not been redefined in the prfplt.var file. Otherwise, prepending a "+" to the variable name will guarantee these variables will appear.

The program will now open the graphics window and start processing the data. The user will be prompted for the output device. Then the profiler file is opened and data read in. First, the background map will plot. Any additional computations are performed and the data are plotted.   If a simple plot is specified such as "temp", the data will be plotted to 0 decimal places on the map. Formatting of the number can be done with the plot_format resource.  Composite plots can either be specified with the variable resource (.var file, resource file, command line or variable prompt).  The variable resource allows the user to control much of the data formatting.  

When the plot is complete, output can be saved to a GIF image file, spooled to the printer or the plot can be zoomed.  When zooming the image, the plot will redraw to the new domain.  It will also add more stations to the plot depending on the size of the domain. When the user is finished with the plot, the enter key can be hit which closes the window and returns the user to the variable prompt.


   prfplt -cu=la -id=PLTC2 -va=wbrb -de=d

This generates a 12 hour time cross-section of wind data plotted as wind barbs for the profiler site PLTC2.

   prfplt -cu=la -le=3000m -va=wbrb -de=d

This will generate a horizontal cross-section of wind data at the 3000m level.   All profiler stations are plotted.


  • prfplt.var - variable menu and definitions


For further information about WXP, email technical-support@weather.unisys.com
Last updated by Dan Vietor on Oct 4, 1997