Overview | Media

Recommendations for Media Usage

All media use must abide by the UCAR's Terms of Use.

The following in no way supersedes UCAR's Terms of Use but is offered as guidance for media who wish to use plots from this site in blogs, other web pages, or in on-air broadcasts.

  • Media are encouraged to use these resources responsibly.
  • Keep in mind that the model guidance and forecast aids shown in the plots on this site do not actually come from NCAR or the TCGP. We are collecting these from several sources and providing a visualization of these. Many of the models are run at the National Weather Service's National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) or other global modeling centers. 
  • On-air usage is permitted if the following criteria are met: (1) the entire viewport of the plot is shown in its entirety (this is the map portion of the plot), (2) the NCAR logo appears on the plot. In addition, we ask that occasionally the on-air meteorologist verbally credits the plot to the "Tropical Cyclone Guidance Project at the National Center for Atmospheric Research" or a visual credit is provided immediately beneath or beside the plot.
  • Plots should only be shown on-air if they can be interpreted by a credentialed on-air meteorologist with tropical meteorology experience.  
  • Media should NOT use content from this site to second guess official storm warnings of the designated Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC), Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC), or National Hydro Meteorological Service (NHMS).
  • In general, visualizations of the plots should be used to reinforce the official forecast from these centers.
  • Remember that no NWP model or forecast aid is actually a forecast. Don't say that the models are "forecasting the storm to come ashore at X". Models make projections, humans make forecasts!
  • The spread of the models may indicate the uncertainty in the forecast situation - this can be a double-edged sword, since when the public hears the word "uncertainty" they may think that forecasters don't know what they are talking about and therefore ignore the official forecast. If anything, uncertainty should be highlighted as an even greater reason for the public to pay attention to official sources and to be prepared.
  • On the flip side, sometimes the models cluster together. Forecasters often take this to mean that the uncertainty is lower than normal, however, this may or may not be true of the actual uncertainty for a particular forecast case. Even if the model tracks are tightly clustered, it is always important to indicate to the public that the 'cone of uncertainty' may be wider. If your listeners are under a warning, they should not disregard the official forecast merely because the model projections do not take the storm directly over them.
  • Also emphasize that model projections only show the track of the center of the simulated storm. Damaging effects such as tornadoes, heavy rain, and storm surge can be experienced at a considerable distance from the storm center.
  • The print and on-line media are encouraged to follow the above principles of interpretation when posting plots from this site in blogs, social media sites, and other web sites. 
  • If you do use plots from this site, please hotlink from your site directly to the fixed URL of the plot on this site. We would also appreciate it if you can place the following attribution immediately below the plot's location on your page:
  • Unless special arrangement has been made, commercial use of this site's content is generally prohibited. Corporations, local emergency management offices, and inter-governmental agencies tasked with safe-guarding their operations are permitted to use this site's content for information purposes. Companies involved in energy and risk trading are also welcome to use the site for information purposes. However we ask that all corporate, governmental, and business users keep in mind that this site does not have 24/7 operational support.