Map: Point Forecasts
PointCasts are extremely useful in quickly assessing the soaring potential for a given location over the next upcoming days. These plots provide a quick sketch of how the weather will evolve over a location across time and can be used to identify windows of good potential in a single glance. For moments when conditions are questionable or suspect, diving in deeper is warranted.
Creating a PointCast is done by clicking anywhere on the map and selecting "PointCast". Using the selected model, a plot will show at the bottom of the map for all hours into the future from the current time. The previous 12 hours will also show to provide trending context. The plots are known as time-height plots and show height on the left (Y) axis and time on the bottom (X) axis. For the GFS, for example, the next several days will show. For other short-term models, such as the RAP or HRRR in North America, only the next day will show, which is the complete period available for their forecasts. With the ICON and GFS, having the next several days available is helpful in providing general guidance. Here is an example:
This plot shows a time-height plot for a point in Eastern Australia for the next 3 days. Just like the route plots, there are several different parameters available to view soaring forecasts against. These are thermal strength, thermal index, temperature, relative humidity, and dewpoint. Each of the plots contain the same soaring analysis plotted as lines on them.
In this example, the "wind" tab is selected. You'll clearly see the evolution of the winds throughout the days and nights. On the second day there are strong winds approaching this location with speeds near 30 mph at the top of lift. This is, of course, over a single point. Mousing over the plot on the desktop version, or tapping / clicking on the mobile version will allow you to change the hour on the map. This allows you to "pivot" from one time to another quickly to review the spatial changes via the map area.
The plots can be toggled to expand by clicking on the upper right Up or Down arrow. Here we have an expanded version of the same model and location as above, with the relative humidity plot selected.
This plot is very useful to inspect the overall moisture profile from the surface up through 40,000 ft (12,000+m). You can clearly see the approaching winds on the other plot correspond with a surge of moisture on the second day forecast. Winds aloft strengthen and the mid levels from 14,000 ft through nearly 20,000ft are fully saturated, which imply precipitation or thick cloud. Exploring more on the map with the precipitation layer selected, we can see that widespread precipitation is possible.