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Reporting of cloud heights as MSL in area forecast?

Asked by: 5038 views ,
General Aviation, Student Pilot

I am a student pilot and was getting a weather brief today.  The briefer gave me the area forecast and reminded me that cloud heights are reported in MSL for en route and area forecasts.

I believe all other reported cloud heights....in TAF's, METAR's, AWOS etc...are AGL.

Does anyone know why en route and area forecasts the cloud heights are reported as MSL?

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1 Answers



  1. Koehn on Dec 29, 2010

    Because the area forecasts and en route forecasts cover a lot of terrain which may have a wide range of mountains, valleys, etc., they use MSL.
    AWOS/ASOS, TAF, and METAR are limited to a small region around their immediate vicinity, so they use AGL. This also helps pilots know if the ceiling is within the limits allowed for their mode of flight (VFR, IFR, or special VFR).

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