Python is a programming language that has nothing to do with parseltonge (sorry Harry Potter fans). This page demonstrates how Python is used in my everyday programming need as an atmospheric science graduate student. Here I will show my latest work and post helpful coding tips and tricks I find useful.
-Brian Blaylock

Monday, July 6, 2015

Plotting Sounding Data from University of Wyoming's Website

Plotting sounding data can be difficult, but it is made easy with this python module:

It requires a .txt file with data in the format of the University of Wyoming sounding data archive (example) or you can create your own dictionary.

Here I grab the sounding data from the University of Wyoming's website and process it with the following steps:

  1. Use urllib2 to open the url and read the data
  2. Parse out the html tags using BeautifulSoup
  3. Separate the text by a new line "\n"
  4. Write each line of text to a new .txt file reinserting the new line with +"\n" and skipping the first three lines of the file (this puts it in the same format as the University of Wyoming website)
  5. Draw the Skew-T Plot (NOTE: requires the SkewT package here)
Here is the download function on github
As always, please share other solutions you may come up with :)

# Brian Blaylock
# July 6, 2015

# Download, process, and Plot Sounding Data from University of Wyoming

import urllib2
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
from skewt import SkewT

stn = '72572' #72572 is ID for SLC
year= '2015'
month = '06'
day = '12'
hour = '12' #either 12 or 00

# 1)
# Wyoming URL to download Sounding from
url = ''+year+'&MONTH='+month+'&FROM='+day+hour+'&TO='+day+hour+'&STNM='+stn
content = urllib2.urlopen(url).read()

# 2)
# Remove the html tags
soup = BeautifulSoup(content)
data_text = soup.get_text()

# 3)
# Split the content by new line.
splitted = data_text.split("\n",data_text.count("\n"))

# 4)
# Write this splitted text to a .txt document
Sounding_filename = str(stn)+'.'+str(year)+str(month)+str(day)+str(hour)+'.txt'
f = open(Sounding_filename,'w')
for line in splitted[4:]:

# 5)
sounding = SkewT.Sounding(filename=Sounding_filename)

And if you wish to plot more than one sounding on the same plot do this...
S = SkewT.Sounding(filename=Sounding_filename)
T = SkewT.Sounding(filename="72572.2015061212.txt")
S. add_profile(color="b",bloc=1)


  1. Thanks for posting this! I wrote a wrapper for the section that downloads the text file and made some modifications so that it would be easy to loop through. From that I was able to download all the radiosonde data from 1979 to the present for Barrow Alaska for the months I was interested in.

  2. You're welcome! Thanks for visiting the blog :)