Color has a long history of use for visually communicating weather information; however, the mapping of colors to meteorological features has been dictated, for the most part, by common practice and has remained undocumented throughout the history of weather cartography. With the current proliferation of interactive workstations targeted for weather analysis and forecasting duties, the time is ripe for reaching a consensus on a color palette for depicting the most common weather features. To this end, the American Meteorological Society MPS (Interactive Information and Processing Systems) Subcommittee for Color Guidelines was formed to poll the meteorological community to determine the most commonly used sets of color assignments that are used in depicting meteorological information. The subcommittee accomplished this mission by 1) soliciting input from institutions expected to have a significant interest in weather feature color assignments, 2) searching for commonality among the different color palettes currently used by the community, and 3) developing a common palette of colors along with specific color definitions. This article is the product of the subcommittee's initiative that documents the color guidelines and specifies the palette of colors.

This content is only available as a PDF.


Editor's note: These guidelines emanated from an AMS committee* and have been considered by the Executive Committee of the Society. At this time, however, they should not be construed as having the official endorsement of the Society. They are published here for consideration by the community, for discussion and comment, and for possible further action.

*Members of the American Meteorological Society's Interactive Information and Processing Systems (MPS) Subcommittee for Color Guidelines are G. Stanley Doore, Allan C. Eustis, David Jones, Roy Leep, John Lincoln, Alexander E. MacDonald, Peter A. Mandics, Robert T. Ryan, James A. Schiavone (chair), and Dieter Schiessl.