Bufkit3 Release 10      17 November 2000

1.0 Introduction
   1.1 What's New for Bufkit3
   1.2 How to set up SAMBA

2.0 System Resources

3.0 Installation:

4.0 Profile Mode
   4.1 Selecting Model
   4.2 Selecting Site
   4.3 Selecting Time
   4.4 Profile Display Options
   4.5 Profile Analysis Section
   4.6 Profile Options Displays

5.0 Overview Mode
   5.1 Basic Options
   5.2 Contour Products
   5.3 Temperature Products
   5.4 Wind
   5.5 Convection Display
   5.6 Fire Weather Section
   5.7 Research Page
   5.8 Controls
   5.9  Metafunction keys

Appendix A.   Support Files Format

7.0 SHARP Soundings

8.0  Contributors

9.0 Releases

1.0 Introduction. BUFKIT is an analysis tool for the eta, NGM, and RUC forecast profiles. WFO Buffalo originally designed BUFKIT in 1995 to provide insight to lake-effect snow conditions in upstate New York. In 1997, BUFKIT was expanded to make use of additional convective parameters to assist the forecaster with the analysis of non-winter convection.  Bufkit provides two types of display.

1.0.1  The Profile Display.  This provides a therodynamic diagram for a given forecast point for a specific hour.

BUFKIT Profile Screen

1.0.2  The Overview Display.  This screen provides timelines and time - height displays display of variaous parameters.

BUFKIT Overview Screen

1.1  Support.  National Weather Service, Department of Defense and academic institutions can receive assistance with the installation and operation of this tool by contacting Ed Mahoney, the WFO Buffalo SOO, at ed.mahoney@noaa.gov. He'll be glad to provide assistance getting you up and running.

1.1 What's New for BUFKIT3

2.0 System Resources: BUFKIT requires the following hardware and software:

Minimum Requirements:

3.0 Installation

3.1  Test Run  The Bufkit package comes with preconfigured to display data in the Case Study directory.  Severel sample profiles were included in this directory.  You can run Bufkit either by  Double Clicking the  Bufkit3.exe icon within the Bufkit3 directory.

You can also ese the Windows menu system by clicking on the Start button.  Click on the Start > Programs > Bufkit.

Ensure Windows can display at least 800x600 resolution. Any resolution will work with the exception of the Windows default resolution of 640x480. At one time, over 30% of the installation problems for BUFKIT deal with not setting up the display driver in at least 800x600 resolution.

3.2  Configuring BUFKIT for your Site. Edit the file BUFKIT.CFG with a text editor (or any word processor that can save in ASCII format). The format of this configuration file is a description line followed by the configuration value.  The description line can contain any words, but it must be present. If a description ends with a "*", then you must edit this entry to get BUFKIT working properly. Note you no longer have to end a directory with a "\", it is optional.  However, watch out for training extra spaces at the end of any entry.

====> Directory that contains the current etakit Profiles *
====> Directory that contains the current MesoEtakit Profiles *
====> Directory that contains the current NGMkit Profiles *
====> Directory that contains the current RUC2 Profiles *
====> Directory that contains the Archive eta Profiles *
====> Directory that contains the Archive MesoEta Profiles *
====> Directory that contains the Archive NGM Profiles *
====> Directory that contains the Archive RUC2 Profiles *
====> Time Zone Offset
====> Computer set to Z time (UTC) or Local Time (enter Z or L)
====> Path to SHARP Directory
====> Lat Lon of the North West Corner of your Map Area (in Decimal degrees)
44.7 80.1
====> Lat Lon of the South East Corner of the Map Display (in Decimal Degrees)
41.3 74.8
====> Full Path & Filename of HTML Reference File Viewer
c:\program files\netscape\communicator\program\netscape.exe
====> Lake Index > Height and Temp Difference - Normally 850 mb and 13 degrees C
850 13
====> Collier Stability Index Levels - Normally 850 and 700 mb
850 700
====> Total Totals (Lowest Layer) - Normally 850 mb
====> Enter Default Layers for the following. (<100 defines Layer > 100 defines pressure)
======> Shear Level Midpoint: eta meso eta NGM mm5 (7 10 3 ?)
870 870 870 870
======> Top of Mean Layer Wind: eta meso eta NGM mm5 (12 19 3 ?)
710 710 710 710
======> Enter Default Hodograph Height in KM
======> Prevent forecasters the ability to change CAPE-Shear Elevation? (Yes/No)
======> Prevent forecasters from examining the LWX/CEA Hail Indices? (Yes/No)
======> Enter two Storm Motions For Helicity Calculations
======> Enter Degrees Right and Fraction of Speed of the mean flow to 6 km
0 1.0
15 .85
======> Enter two Lake Geometries for Fetch & Residency Time Calculations
======> Left Lake: Angle of Lake Axis(degrees), Length(Nautical Miles), Width(NMi)
248 195 45
======> Right Lake: Angle of Lake Axis(deg), Length(Nmi), Width(Nmi)
260 155 48
====> Do you want Omega Field filtered by Default? (Yes or No)
====> WSR-88D Temperature Height threshold (i.e. 1000 ft)
====> Drive letter where the Storm Matrix Animations are Located
====> Profile Temperatures to highlight (Deg C) (zero to five temps separated by commas)
====> The Favorite Profile Sites (Up To 10) *

3.3 Advanced BIUFKIT Configuration.  The following files are optional. They activate the Lake Effect Snow forecasting portion of BUFKIT, provide the capability to interface with SHARP, and provide the capability to link BUFKIT into the Convective Storm Matrix COMET module.

3.3.1 Lake Effect Snow Forecasting. To enable the Lake Effect Snow portion of BUFKIT you will need the first two files. The last file (BUFKIT.RAD), is considered "research-level" and is optional.  The format for all four files are detailed in Appendix A.

3.3.2 SHARP Interface. Dave Gurney at WFO Hastings developed a separate series of programs are available that provides BUFKIT the capability of generating derived sounding data from the NGM, eta, and meso eta profile model output that is compatible with SHARP. If you want this capability, copy the BUFSHARP programs into the SHARP directory. See the BUFSHARP documentation for installation details. 3.3.3 COMET Module Interactivity.   Edit the following BUFKIT.CFG entry to point where the COMET Module, A Convective Storm Matrix is located.  If it still on CDROM, identify the CDROM drive letter.
====> Drive letter where the Storm Matrix Animations are Located

If instead, you installed the COMET Module on the hard drive, just identify the Hard Drive letter:
====> Drive letter where the Storm Matrix Animations are Located

3.4  Getting Bufkit Profiles.

3.4.1   Generating Profiles On-Station.   National Weather Service offices have the capability of generating their own BUFKIT-compatable profiles from using a Unix workstation or a Linux PC using Gempak.  (Note: It has been our experiance that any Pentium-class Linux Box with at least 64 MB of RAM will out perform our SAC by at least 2 to 1.)  Bob Rozumalski, the National Weather Service SOO/SAC coordinatior, has worked with NCEP to create a script called MODSND to automatically retrieve forcast profiles from NCEP and reformat them into a BUFKIT-compatable format.   NWS offices can can download the MODSND script from the SOO/SAC contrib directory.  Once you generate the BUFKIT profile on your workstation, you must make it accessable to the PC running BUFKIT.  You have two choices.  FTP. The simplest method is to FTP the data to your PCs. Most offices are currently using this method. When you FTP the data make sure you use the BINARY transfer mode. SAMBA. The most effective method to provide BUFKIT access to the generated ASCII files is by installing the free utility SAMBA on your SAC or Linux PC. Once installed, every Windows computer on your LAN has access to the data files contained on the workstation. Several offices in Eastern region have this valuable utility already installed using a subset of SAMBA. The installation process for this subset typically takes less than 30 minutes.  Paul Sisson, SOO at Burlington, VT has developed the following procedures to get SAMBA up and running on your SAC.

This is for Samba for HPUX 9.0X
(Note: Paul reports this works for HPUX10 also.)
0)  Download the HPUX SAMBA tar file from here.

samba is installed in /usr/local as root

1)untar samba.tar in /usr/local

 cd /usr/local
 tar -xvf samba.tar

2)cd /usr/local/samba/lib

3)edit smb.conf

************** example of smb.conf to share a directory to windows************
        mangle case = yes
        mangled names = yes
        default case = lower
        case sensitive = no
        preserve case = yes
        short preserve case = yes
        default service = reference
        workgroup = btv
        guest account = gempak
        lock directory = /usr/local/samba/var/locks
        share modes = yes

   path = /usr2/metdat/dos
   public = yes
   only guest = no
   writable = yes
   printable = no

4) to start samba daemons:

  smbd must be executed first
  nmbd must be executed second

  from the prompt as root:


  You can add the 2 lines to the localrc() section of /etc/rc
  to start samba at boot time:

  5) Thats about it. You should go to win95 and see the directory in Network
  Neighborhood. You can then map it to a drive.

  Paul Sisson SOO/BTV  4/10/97

(Paul says if you need help getting SAMBA going - and you are from the National Weather Service - you can contact him via e-mail)

3.4.2   Downloadling Profiles off the Internet.  Hundreds of BUFKIT profiles are posted by National Weather Service offices and the The Department of Meteorology at Penn State on the internet.  See http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/buf/bufkit/prof.html for links to the various web locations.  Downloading profiles using Netscape.  Downloading profiles using Netscape is easy.  However, Netscape will only correctly download profiles using the FTP protocol.  If the profile is being offered from a NWS web page using HTTP protocol use Internet Explorer (see

Move your cursor over the station you want to download. Right-Click the mouse and a pop-up menu will appear.  Select the Save Link As... menu option.  A File Dialog Box will open up.
Change the directory to the one that contains your forecast profiles.  Then click the Save button.  Downloading profiles using Internet Explorer.
Move your cursor over the station you want to download. Right-Click the mouse and a pop-up menu will appear.  Select the Save Target As... menu option.  A File Dialog Box will open up.
Change the directory to the one that contains your forecast profiles.  Note Internet Explorer will try to save the file as a Text Document.  This would be compatable with Bufkit except that is you clicked the Save button now the file would be saved with a .txt extension appended to the file name. 

In this case, if you clicked the Save button now, the file would be saved as metakit.gsp.txt

To overcome this limitation, just place quotes (i.e. the " character) around the file name.  Now when you select the Save button, the profile will be saved under its correct name.  In this case metakit.gsp  Downloading profiles using BufGet.  Downloading individual profiles can be tedious of you routinely retrieve a site.  The problem is worse if you want to routinely retrieve several sites.  The BufGet software package addresses these problems.  You identify up to four lists of profiles that you may want to download.  A list may contain profiles from several different NWS offices and combine HTTP and FTP transfers.  The program with detailed instructions are available at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/buf/bufkit/bufget.html

4.0 Profile Mode. BUFKIT has two major display modes. The PROFILE display presents an analysis of a single hour of profile data. The OVERVIEW display presents a time line of parameters from the entire model run. BUFKIT starts in the Profile display mode.

4.1 Profile Selection

4.1.1  Selecting Model: On startup BUFKIT will search for etakit.xxx profiles in the eta profile directory specified in the BUFKIT.CFG file. By clicking on the Meso button BUFKIT will search for metakit.xxx profiles in the meso eta directory specified in the BUFKIT.CFG file. The NGM selection will scan for ngmkit.xxx files in your specified directory.

4.1. 2 Selecting Site: On selecting a model BUFKIT will display the station ID names of the etakit, metakit, or ngmkit files found in the respective data directory. BUFKIT will automatically select with the first profile found. To examine the data for another site, click on the site name with the mouse.

4.2  Time Selection: When a city is loaded it is set for forecast hour zero. To scan through the latter hours you can:

- Manual Control: On the HOUR vertical scroll bar, drag the control button or press the up/down arrow buttons. BUFKIT will display the hour of the mode run above the HOUR vertical scroll bar. You can click of the HOUR display to return to forecast hour 0.

- Automatic Looping: Click on the LOOP button. BUFKIT will enter a time lapse mode. You can change the looping speeds using controls displayed when selection the CONTROL panel display. The top scroll bar determines frame speed while the bottom slide bar determines the end of loop delay.

4.3  Thermodynamic Diagram Display.  Bufkit will display the profile for a selected hour in the thermodynamic diagram display.  You may adjust the scales as follows:

Zoom in Move the mouse over the Thermodynamic Diagram Display and  Left-Click the mouse
Zoom Out Move the mouse over the Thermodynamic Diagram Display and  Right-Click the mouse
Adjust the Right Edge of the Display Click on either the "<" (cooler) or the ">" (warmer) button at the bottom-right of the Thermodynamic Diagram Display
Adjust the left Edge of the Display Click on either the "<" (cooler) or the ">" (warmer) button at the bottom-left of the Thermodynamic Diagram Display

4.3.1 Active Readout Profile and Hodograph displays.  When this option is selected under the Controls panel, moving the mouse over the profile will cause Bufkit to display height, temperature, dew point, and wind values for the nearest forecast layer on that display. If you have the Hodograph display open, the shear vector between the active level and the previous one is highlighted in purple.  You can toggle between readout in feet, kilometers, or mb by clicking the button after Active Read Out option.

4.4 Profile Overlays: There are six categories of Profile Overlays: Controls, Alerts, Convection, Lake Effect, CONvective Research Animation Display, and Loop.  Select a profile overlay category clicking on the appropriate overlay categoty box.

4.4.1  Controls Vector Winds. Displays sigma level winds as a vector. The length of the vector is proportional to wind speed.  The option button next to the Vector Wind Option will toggle the color of thge wind vectors based upon wind speed. Digital Winds. Displays sigma level winds as "direction / speed" (knots). Omega. Display the vertical velocity in microbars per second. Note the upward vertical velocity is negative. Depending how your configuration file is set, the values may have been filtered. When omega is selected a button appears next to this selection. Press the button to toggle between filtered and unfiltered views of omega.  10M Wind.  Displays the 10 meter wind spped and direction on the profile.  Relative Humidity. When selected the program plots relative humidity on the left side of the sounding as follows:

Color Relative Humidity
Green >= 90%
Red >=70% to <90%
Blue <= 30% Wet Bulb. The wet-bulb temperature is plotted on the profile. Inversions. When checked will display inversions as gray shading with a label at the base of the inversion in millibars. If the Lake Effect Panel is displayed while inversions are selected, the Lake Effect Panel will also present lake effect snow radar coverage information. BUFKIT defines and inversion using one of two criteria:  2M Temp.  Displays the 2 meter temperature and dewpoint on the profile display in the following format:  Temp°C/Dew Point°C Skew-T. When selected the temperate axis is similar to a Skew-T diagram. When not selected, the plot is similar to a pseudo-adiabatic chart.  Lines.  When selected, the vertical axis tick marks (in feet, pressure or kilometers) are extended as lines across the profile display. Clouds. The hourly model forecasts include the percent of cloud cover in the low, middle and high cloud decks. BUFKIT plots these cloud fractions to wherever relative humidity exceed 70% in the low levels (SFC-6000 ft), and 50% at middle (6000-20000 ft) and high (above 20000 ft) levels. The only exception is that a cloud deck is never plotted below the LCL. The intensity of the Gray scale is set by the sky cover fraction. So:

Fractional Coverage RGB Values Color
0.00 00 00 00 Black
0.50 7F 7F 7F Gray
1.00 FF FF FF White  Wind Density.  When "1" is selected, every model layer's wind vector is plotted.  Click on "2" to plot every other wind vector.  Click on "3" to plot every third wind vector.  Vertical Axis Units.  Determine if BUFKIT plots the vertical axis using feet above ground level, kilometers above ground level, or pressure.  Icing Algorithm.

Example of Icing Profile between 21,000' and 35,000' (Blue curve [-8*DPD] greater than temperature curve)  Momentium Transfer.  This technique, developed at WFO Tauton and WFO Burlington, indicates the potential for upperlevel winds to mix down to the surface.  The display is computed as follows:  Starting at the surface, go up the temperature profile until the temperature decrease is no longer close to the dry adiabatic lapse rate.  Bufkit highlights this portion of the temperature profile in light red and displays the wind speed and direction at that top level.  Bufkit then computes the vector mean wind within that layer. 

4.4.2 Alerts Section. You can set the ALERT and ALARM levels of the thermodynamic indexes. To set Alert Levels:

Note: these options are saved to a "history file" when you exit BUFKIT by selecting the DONE button.

4.4.3  Convection Section. This section displays theromodynamic calculations are based upon a lifting a parcel.  The parcel is defined as having a mean-layer-averaged temperature and mositure from the lowest 500 meters of the atmosphere.  LFC/Equilibrium Level/LCL/CCL.  When selected, BUFKIT will label and point an arrow to the vertical level in the sounding where is is occurring.  If a parameter is not defined for a particular sounding, BUFKIT will not plot a label.  CAPE/CIN.  When selected the CAPE will be plotted in yellow and CIN will be plotted in blue. CAPE and CIN will not be plotted of there is no LFC.  Convective Temperature.  BUFKIT will plot the convective temperature in Celcius on the horizontal temperature scale near the surface.  Wet Bulb Zero.  When selected, BUFKIT will plot the Wet Bulb Zero temperature in light blue on the vertical profile.

4.4.4  Lake Effect.  This panel allows you to calculate several indices associated with lake effect snow. Lake Index. This index is calculated by raisning the selected Lake temperature to 850 mb dry adiabatically and then subtracts the forecast sounding temperature at 850 mb from that "lifted parcel" temperature. Think of this like the Lifted Index except you lift the lake temperature and you only raise the parcel to 850 mb. Like the LI, when the index is negative, the parcel is warmer than the environment and you achieve lake-induced instability. The index display as on the profile in blue and white. Moist Lake Index. Mixes the selected lake temperature with the lowest 2 layers of the model. It then raises modified parcel 150 mb above the surface moist adiabatically. BUFKIT then subtracts the forecast sounding temperature at 150 mb above the surface from that "modified lifted parcel" temperate. The index display as on the profile in green and white. Again, when this index is negative, the parcel is warmer than the environment and you achieve lake-induced instability. Which one to use? Moist Lake Index appears to forecast the start of Lake Effect Snow better than the Lake Index when there is high amounts of residual low-level moisture. The Collier Index. This is a matrix that compares the Lake Temperature with the forecast temperature at 850 mb and 700 mb. Below the matrix BUFKIT will display a qualitative description of the extent of lake-induced instability: Conditional, Moderate, or Extreme.  Lake Induced Thermodynamic Parameters.  BUFKIT displays Lake Induced CAPE (LIC), Lake Induced Equilibrium Level (LIE), and Normalized Lake Induced CAPE (NLIC).  The parcel is lifted most adiabatically until the parcel temperature intercepts the environmental sounding.  The starting parcel temperature is based on the lowest two model layers mixing with the operator selected lake temperature.  The Lake Induced parameters are displayed on the Lake Effect panel while the Lake Induced CAPE is traced in white on the profile display.

In the "Ocean Effect" example above, the sounding is produced a LIC of  382 J/kg, a LIE of only 4200 AGL, and a Normalized LIC of 0.3 m/s^2 (or 30 cm/s^2).   This example contained an "Ocean Effect" band that dropped 17 inches of snow in South Weymouth, MA.

4.4.5 CONRAD Section. This Convective Research Animation Display section allows the user to apply the COMET module "A Convective Storm Matrix" to the forecast sounding and hodograph. Storm Environment ID. For a given forecast hour, BUFKIT will analyze the hodograph and sounding profile and match it with one of 64 thunderstorm environments defined by this Module. If the required criteria of CAPE and hodograph shape are met, BUFKIT will display the appropriate storm environment ID in the black box. If you left click on this environment ID box, BUFKIT will display its rationale box plotting the shear and helicity for each 2.5 km layer up to 7.5 km AGL. Storm Animations.. If an environment ID is present you can play an animation of modeled thunderstorm model resulting from that environment. To play the animation:

- the COMET module "A Convective Storm Matrix" CD-ROM is loaded in the CD-ROM drive or the module has been installed an accessible hard drive.

- The BUFKIT.CFG file has been configured to point to the drive where the COMET module is located. Just a drive letter and not a directory is required.

To play the radar animation, click on the 0.4 km and 4.0 km elevation display buttons. To display a visual depiction of the display, click on the CLOUD display button. Once the animation is started you can press to PAUSE/PLAY toggle button to stop and start the animation loop. The animation can be moved to the right or left side of the BUFKIT display by pressing the --> or <--- buttons. To end the animation display and restore the normal BUFKIT display, click on the CLEAR button.


4.4.6  Loop Paramenters.  You can set the looping speed using these slider bars.  This panel also provides the cability to print the profile display.  However this capability only works with printers set to 300 dot-per-inch or less.

4.5 Profile Analysis Section. The region to the left of the profile displays five types of information associated with that hour's profile.

4.5.1 Data. BUFKIT will print the pressure, temperature, dew point, relative humidity, and wind velocity for each of the lowest 20 model layers.

4.5.2 Indices. BUFKIT displays 18 thermodynamic indices associated with that currently displayed profile.

- CAPE/CINS. The GEMPAK calculates these two values using the layer average of the lowest 100 mb of the sounding. This is similar to the method to calculate "B+"/"B-" values by SHARP when using the "Mean" parcel lifting technique. It can produce significantly different results when SHARP uses its default technique -- "PMAX" (Maximum instability in the lowest layers of the atmosphere).

- Helicity. This is calculated by the model post processor as follows: The layer-mean wind in the cloud bearing layer is estimated with the 850-300mb layer average wind. For wind speeds less than 15 m/s, the storm motion vector or estimated as 75% of the magnitude and 30 degrees to the right of this mean-layer wind. For wind speeds greater than 15 m/s the storm motion vector is estimated as 80% or the magnitude and 20 degrees to the right of the mean-layer wind. The storm relative helicity is then integrated for the 0 to 3 km AGL layer of the model atmosphere using the wind data from each layer. Note that this technique differs from the one used by SHARP to estimate storm relative Helicity.

- EHI. BUFKIT calculates the Energy Helicity Index by multiplying the CAPE by Helicity and then dividing by 160,000.

- BRN. The GEMPAK calculates the Bulk Richardson Number by dividing CAPE by one-half the square of the difference between the mean wind over the lowest 6 km of the model and the mean surface wind taken over the lowest 500 m of the model.
- Normalized CAPE.   Added to the Indices display is Normalized CAPE in units of meters per second squared.  NCAPE is computed as CAPE / (EQL - LFC).  It is based on the work published by David Blanchard at in Weather & Forecasting (Sep '98).  In Blanchard's abstract he states: "NCAPE may provide a more useful indicator of buoyancy in environments in which the depth of free convection is shallow and total CAPE is small."

- EQ LVL. GEMPAK calculated Equilibrium level in AGL feet. (All heights are displayed as AGL except the WSR-88D Hail Algorithm values on the overview screen.)

- WBZero. BUFKIT calculates Wet Bulb Zero in feet AGL.

- The following indices are calculated by GEMPAK.

LI Lifted Index.
TT Total Totals
K Indx K-Index
Shwltr Showalter Index
SWEAT Sweat Index
- Precipitation and Convective Precipitation is displayed in inches for that hour and the total accumulation since the beginning of the model run.

- Pcpble Water. Precipitable water in inches.

- LCL, CCL, LFC, and Equilibrium Level are displayed in pressure and feet AGL.

4.5.3 Hodograph. This display allows the BUFKIT user to visually inspect and modify the model's hodograph. BUFKIT computes this helicity value using the same technique as implemented in SHARP. The layer-mean wind in the cloud bearing layer is estimated with the 0 - 6 km layer average wind. The storm motion is then estimated by deflecting this mean wind to the right by a user defined angle and a user defined percentage. BUFKIT allows the user to define two methods. The height over which the helicity is integrated is also user definable.

4.5.4 Storm Type. BUFKIT plots a large colored dot on this SHEAR vs CAPE diagram. The color of the dot is determined by CINS. Up to 5 previous SHEAR-CAPE-CINS values are also plotted in diminishing dot sizes. The shear calculations default using to 0 to 4 km, however, if enabled in the BUFKIT configuration file, the user can change over which layers the shear values are calculated.

4.5.5 Map. BUFKIT displays a map of an area defined by the configuration file. If the wind is coming from a direction defined in the BUFKIT.DAT, the map area will also display lake effect snow threat areas. Determining the steering winds of a lake effect snow band is one of the current meteorological challenges forecasters face today. Thus BUFKIT provided two methods to compute lake effect band steering winds. Sigma Level Wind. When selected, the map display shows wind information for a given sigma level. It is the wind from this level that determine the position of any plotted lake effect snow regions. The program defaults to using a signal level closest to the pressure you specified in the BUFKIT.CFG configuration. You have the option of selecting other Sigma winds by clicking on the SIGMA LEVEL scroll bar that appears below to the map display box. A white horizontal line appears on the right hand side of the sounding profile at the specified sigma level. Shear is computed over a 100 mb layer centered on the selected sigma level. It is this calculated shear value that determines the color of the snow threat.

Boundary Color Shear Environment Implication
Green Low single LES band
Yellow Moderate transition between single & multiple bands
Red High multiple LES bands
Shear information is presented by displaying the amount of shear in degrees between the sigma levels just above and below the controlling sigma level. The shear number is color coded as follows:
Shear Color Implication
Red Warm Air Advection at these levels
Blue Cold Air Advection Layer Mean Wind. Wind information displays mean wind computed from Sigma 1 up through the specified Sigma Level. BUFKIT defaults to using the lowest sigma layer to the signal layer closest to the height specified in the BUFKIT.CFG configuration file. You have the option of defining the depth of the mixing layer by clicking on the SIGMA LEVEL scroll bar that appears below to the map display box. A white horizontal line appears on the right hand side of the sounding profile at the specified sigma level. The color of the possible lake-effect snow regions is determine by the root mean square of all the sigma winds in that layer.
Boundary Color Shear Environment Implication
Green RMS Low single LES band
Yellow RMS Moderate transition between single & multiple bands
Red RMS High multiple LES bands


4.5.6  Precipitation Type Analysis.  There are three different and independent precipitation Bufkit displays.  Model Output.  The eta, NGM and RUC profiles contain precipitation type.  This output is displayed on the profile itself.  Energy Area.  BUFKIT now fully implements the AES Canada precipitation type analysis developed by Pierre Bourgouin.  See  "A Method to Determine Precipitation Type", Weather and Forecasting, October 2000).  Bufkit will present one of three displays depending upon how many times the temperature profile crosses the zero degree isotherm. 

You may access the alternative precipitation type technique by clicking on the Thickness button.  Partial Thickness.  This technique, developed by  Kermit Keeter and the forecasters at WFO Raleigh, forecast precipitation type based upon the 1000mb - 850 mb thickness (vertical axis) and the 850mb - 700 thickness (horizontal axis).  By default, the last 6-hours of data is plotted, but this can be extended by clicking on the numbered-button at the bottom of this display.  Click here for details on using this technique.

You may access the alternative precipitation type technique by clicking on the Energy button.

Example of the WFO Raleigh Precipitation Type Display

5.0 Overview Mode. Clicking on the overview button changes the display from a single hour to a time plot of all 49 sounding hours for the eta/ngm or 33 hours for the meso eta. The following display options are available in this overview mode.

5.1 Basic Options. The following options are always avaialble on the overview display.

5.1.1 Relative Humidity. When selected, the relative humidity for the entire model run is plotted. The color code is as follows:

Color Relative Humidity
Green >= 90%
Red >=70% to 90%
Blue <= 30%
5.1.2 Precipitation. Precipitation forecast amounts are plotted. By default, you can integrate the hourly precipitation amounts by moving the mouse to the starting hour in the display area and holding the RIGHT mouse button down. With the button down, drag the mouse left or right to any other hour. BUFKIT will integrate the amount of precipitation from the starting time to the time pointed to by the mouse.

5.1.3 Contour Internal. Sets the Interval for any selected contour products.

5.1.4 Reset Button. Clears all the selected products from display.

5.1.5 Height Section Buttons. Changes the vertical display to feet, kilometers, or pressure. The long button underneath the height selection buttons elevates the location where the vertical products are displayed. This is useful in viewing low level winds on the VAD product.

5.1.6 Vertical and Horizontal Axis. An overview parameter is plotted for a value (using the Vertical axis) over time (Horizontal axis). The last parameter plotted will usually activate a horizontal axis with a checked box is presented at the bottom of the screen below the vertical axis. When you have multiple vertical axis displayed, you can select any horizontal grid by clicking on one of these axis display boxes. To zoom in on a vertical axis, left click on the axis. To zoom out, right click on the appropriate vertical axis.

5.2 Contour Products. Bufkit can display 12 different time vs height contours.

Example of the Surface Delta Theta-E Contour for a Tornadic Event

Example of Air Force Weather's Icing  Algorithm Time-Height Display

5.3 Temperature Products.

5.3.1 Inversions. Inversion heights are plotted as gray cross-hatched.

5.3.2 Lake Index. The computed Lake Index is plotted over all forecast hours. The line is plotted as red when the index implies lake-induced instability, yellow for a neutral low-level environment, and green to represents stable lake conditions.

5.3.3 Moist Lake Index. When Moist Lake Index 1, 2, or 3 is selected, BUFKIT will plot that index for all forecast hours. Like the Lake Index, the line is color coded to represent stability conditions. Red implies lake-induced instability, yellow implies a neutral low-level environment, and green implies stable lake conditions.

5.3.4. Two-meter temperature products. These two meter products are available on the eta and meso eta profiles. (The NGM plots up parameters from the lowest layer of the model instead).

5.4 Wind. The wind display shows two direction products that assist in lake effect snow forecasting and a VWP-type product

5.4.1 Sigma Level Wind. When selected, a plot of the wind direction is presented for the controlling sigma level plus the wind direction 50 mb (approximately) above and 50 mb below the controlling sigma level. You can change the controlling sigma level by clicking on sigma level selection scroll bar.

5.4.2 Layer Mean Wind. When selected, a plot of the mean wind between two sigma levels. You can change either the base or top sigma level by clicking on sigma level selection scroll bar where the level number and pressure will be displayed.  The color of the wind plot corresponds to the RMS of the wind in the specified layer as follows:

Wind Color Shear Environment Implication
Green RMS Low single LES band
Yellow RMS Moderate transition between single & multiple bands
Red RMS High multiple LES bands
5.4.3 VWP. Wind vectors are presented for all forecast periods. The length of the vector is proportional to the wind speed. When enabled, you can display every third sigma wind (the default), every second sigma wind (2) or every wind (1). You can also display the 10 meter wind by clicking in the 10 meter selection button.  When the color option is selected, the winds direction will be plotted in a color associated with its wind speed. Another effective display is the VWP with the wind speed contour overlayed.

5.5 Convection Display.

5.5.1 CAPE. The line is color coded by CINE.

CAPE Line CINE Implication
Green High Strong cap
Yellow Marginal Marginal cap
Red Low No significant cap
The CINE thresholds are defined on the ALERT panel on the Profile Display (see section 4.6.2)

5.5.2 Helicity. The Sharp Helicity value is plotted. Changes made on the hodograph panel on the profile display impact these values.

5.5.3 Total Totals.

5.5.4 Warm Cloud Depth. Not Implemented in this release.

5.5.5 Convective Instability. Shades levels where theta-e is decreasing with height

5.5.6 Storm Relative Inflow. Displays the difference between the mean surface to 2 km wind and the computed storm motion as presented on the hodograph display (see section 4.4.3)

5.5.7 WSR-88D Hail Data. Plots the 0 degree and -20 degree heights for that location as a function of time. A circle is plotted whenever the height changes by the threshold defined in the BUFKIT.CFG configuration file (i.e. 1000 ft). The number next to the circle in thousands of feet MSL. Note: this is the only MSL height depicted by Bufkit as the UCP algorithm entry screen requires MSL values.

In their 14 April 98 memo to the field, the OSF provided guidance on implementing changes to the WSR-88D Hail algorithm Probability of Severe Hail (POSH) offset.  "Adjusting POSH Offset should be done whenever your site experiences a summertime environment characterized [by] a high melting level and a low vertical shear to alleviate an overforecasting bias.  Wyatt and Witt (1997) defined a high melting level as > 4 km (or 13 kft) MSL and characterized low vertical shear as having winds at 500 mb < 30 kts.  When these conditions occur, the POSH Offset should be lowered to 30%.  When the summertime environment is no longer in effect, it is important that the POSH offset be reset to the default value of 50%."  When selected, Bufkit plots a color coded bar at the top of the overview screen depicting whether the UCP parameter for POSH offset should be set to 50% or 30%.

5.6 Fire Weather Section.

5.6.1 Davis Stability Index. Computes the difference between the 2 meter temperature and 850 mb temperature. The line is color coded as follows:

Category Color Implication
1 Green Stable
2 Yellow Conditionally Unstable
3 Red Unstable
4 Blue Absolutely Unstable
5.6.2 Haines Rate of Spread Index. Bufkit computes a combination of a stability term (T1 - T2) weight and a moisture term (T1-Td1) weight. The levels are dependent upon the Elevation selected (Low, Mid, High).
Category Color Implication
2-3 Green Very Low
4 Yellow Low
5 Red Moderate
6 Blue High
5.6.3 Mixing Layer Height. This is the height where the maximum temperature of the day is brought up dry adiabatically until it intercept the sounding.

5.6.4 Transport Wind. The mean wind speed and direction from the surface to the height of the maxing layer (see section 5.6.3)

5.6.5 Ventilation Factor. The Mixing Layer Height (in meters) multiplied by the Transport Wind Speed ( in meters per second).

5.7 Research Page. These parameters were included to support research being conducted at the NWSFO Buffalo and other offices.

5.7.1 Surface Pressure and 3 Hour Change. These are in millibars and used for isallobaric wind forecasting.

5.7.2 Evaporation and Runoff. Plotted in mm/hr. These values can be integrated over time using the right mouse button.

5.7.3 LLIW. For each level and hour, displays 10 log(Lifted Index * W)

5.7.4 Windex. The thick line is the conditional convective gust potential in knots. The thin line is Windex plus 50% of the forecast storm motion as computed using the technique described in section 4.4.3.

5.7.5 Clouds. A graphical display of the model's cloud cover output. BUFKIT plots the model's output of Low (SFC-6500), Mid (6500-20000) and High (above 20000) Fractional Cloud Coverage level that exceeds 70% RH for Low or 50% RH for Mid and High levels. Also, no clouds are plotted below the LCL. The box that is plotted is:

Sky Fraction Box Plotted Implied
.00 - .09 none Clear
.10 - .24 Single Cross Hatched Few
.25 - .49 Double Cross Hatched Scattered
.50 - .74 Gray Broken
.75 - 1.00 White Overcast
5.8 Controls.

5.8.1 Precipitation Integration. The right mouse button allows you to integrate precipitation over time. Move the mouse pointer into the data area at the starting time. Then click and hold down the right mouse button and drag the mouse left or right to another time. BUFKIT will plot a box near the cursor that show the sum of the precipitation from the starting time to the time where the mouse cursor is located.

5.8.2 Hourly Profile Display. Many of the Profile displays described in section 4 are also available on the overview screen. Move the mouse over the data area. Then click and hold down the left mouse button and one of the profile displays are overlayed on the overview screen. If you hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse to the left or right (changing the valid time), the profile display will animate.

5.8.3 Now. When selected, BUFKIT will plot a vertical white bar on the time plot to indicate the current time.

5.8.4 Time. When selected BUFKIT will display a vertical grid associated with the time axis.

5.9  Metafunction Keys. Beginning with version 97F, BUFKIT allows you to pre-program up to four displays on the Overview display.

5.9.1  Defining a Metafunction Key.  To define a metafunction key, first set up the Overview screen in the configuration you may commonly use.  For example, you can display the lake index, VWP winds (in color), omega with a countor inverval of 2 microbars persecond, and then zoom the vertical axis into to see only up to 9000 ft as a metafunction.  Then press one of the four save keys labeled "A" through "D".  BUFKIT will then save a definition of that screen (made up of 96 different Overview parameters) to a file called BUFKIT.SV#, where the number # can be 0,1,2, or 3.  BUFKIT will attempt to save these metafunction files on your local hard drive in the directory C:\WINDOWS\TEMP.   If that directory doesn't exist then BUFKIT will save the metafunction files in same directory as the BUFKIT executable.  The advantage of the first method is to support sites that have BUFKIT running off a single LAN directory.  By saving the Metafunction definitions on a local drive and not the LAN drive, your Metafunctions will not be over written by someone else running BUFKIT on the LAN at the same time.

5.9.2  Using the Metafunctions.  Once you have defined a Metafunction, you can invoke that definition anytime the overview screen is active by clicking on one of the four Metafunction recall buttons.  A Metafunction can be applied against any site and any model run. If you have multiple instances of BUFKIT running at once, that Metafunction is available to each instance.  All 96 parameters are recalled exactly as saved with the follow exception: the sigma winds and mean wind levels (see section 5.4) are defined by pressure values, not sigma levels.  When a Metafunction is invoked, BUFKIT will find the sigma level closest in pressure to the Metafunction definition.

6.0 Support Files Format.

6.1 BUFKIT.MAP. This file contains the points to plot on the background map. The easiest way to create this file is using the MAPMAKER software. MAPMAKER is available from the NWSFO Buffalo anonymous FTP server. Once MAPMAKER creates BUFKIT.MAP, copy this BUFKIT.MAP file to the BUFKIT directory.

6.2 BUFKIT.CTY Plots locations on the background map with optional labels. Each line contains the latitude and longitude in decimal degrees, followed by an optional label. Entries are separated by commas.


Note in this example, the second location plots only the dot on the map without any label. Also note that, even in this case, the second comma is still required.

6.3 BUFKIT.DAT Defines the lake effect snow threat boxes. BUFKIT will support up to 10 series of threat boxes. Each series is make up of a wind direction followed by the four points that define the threat box for that wind direction. The points defined in latitude - longitude decimal degrees. The end of the series is defined with a -999.

230 Beginning of Lake Erie Series
45.10, 83.00 This Box is for 230 degree winds
46.50, 80.75
45.75, 79.50
44.00, 82.40
270 This Box is for winds at 270 degrees
45.50, 82.25
45.50, 79.00
44.80, 79.00
44.80, 82.25
-999 End of the Lake Erie series
240 This the start of the Lake Ontario series
42.53, 80.17 240 degree wind box
43.73, 78.18
43.40, 78.08
42.04, 80.03
245 The 245 degree box
42.53, 80.17 Note that these wind box needs to be
43.73, 78.18 defined very carefully as a 245 Wind
43.40, 78.08 hits SYR while 240 misses SYR!
42.04, 80.03
255 Start of 250 degree threat box
42.48, 80.18
43.76, 77.57
43.65, 77.22
42.28, 80.10
-999 End of second LES threat box
6.4 BUFKIT.RAD. This file defines the nearby radar sites. This file is very optional as it only supports BUFKIT research displays of WSR-88D coverage limitations and bright band contamination prediction.

=====> enter the latitude and longitude of each radar site
42.949 78.737
41.413 81.86

7.0 SHARP Soundings. (This feature is optional and requires that you have installed the BUFSHARP programs into the SHARP directory.) BUFKIT allows full integration of the eta and meso eta sounding data with SHARP. To convert a model sounding into SHARP format:

- Display the profile for the desired hour using the Hour vertical scroll bar.

- Ensure the lake temperature is appropriately set using the Lake Temperature vertical scroll bar.

- Click on the WSFO Buffalo logo in the upper-right corner of the BUFKIT display.

BUFKIT will convert the displayed profile to a file compatible with SHARP and then automatically load SHARP. After examining the data and exiting SHARP you will be returned to BUFKIT.

8.0  Contributors.   I'd like to thank the following for their contributions to the development of BUFKIT.

Tom Niziol
LES Threat Maps 
Contour Techniques 
All-Around LES Guru
Dave Sage
Moist Lake Index
Keith Brill (NCEP)
MODSND eta, meso eta, and NGM Scripts
Joe Pace
Precipitation Integrator 
Snow Ratios
Barry Lambert
Parcel Mixed Lake Index
Jeff Waldstreicher (BGM)
Adaptable Lower Boundary Layered Winds
Dan Mahoney 
Alan Blackburn
Helicity Calculations
Paul Sisson (BTV)
Omega Display Scheme 
get_bufr97 scripts 
Bufkit "What If You Add" Guy
Dr. Bob Ballentine (SUNY Oswego) 
Steve Nesbitt
mm5 Profiles
Peggy Bruehl (COMET) RUC II Profiles
Dave Gurney (HSI)
BufSharp Development
John Hart (SPC)
Moist Adiabats
Mike Cammarata (CAE) 
John Eise (MKE)
Fire Weather Equations
Convective Animations from  the Training 
Module "A Convective Storm Matrix"