In this lesson you learned about how contour maps are created and interpreted. However, this sample skipped a few topics normally presented to our students in the Weather Forecasting Certificate program. To finish your instruction in weather data analysis you are going to need to learn about the concept of "gradients". Gradients are used to describe the horizontal change in a particular variable. Meteorologists often refer to the "temperature gradient" or the "pressure gradient" when discussion a particular weather pattern. It's definitely something that you should have in your weather toolbox.
The next concept that students typically learn at this stage is how to analyze weather data on maps having different projections. It can be quite tricky to figure out the wind direction from a station model plotted on a polar stereographic map. The key is to always know which way is north (it's not always up!) and how your sense of direction can be changed by various map projections. Finally, we would be remiss if we didn't talk about data collected over the ocean. Although this seems to be more appropriately discussed in Lesson 1, this lesson also examines the types and format of data collected by ships and buoys. This data can be of vital importance when constructing contour plots over the oceans (where observations can be rather sparse).
Now that we've discussed how observations are often displayed and analyzed by meteorologists, it's time to examine another valuable source of data... remotely sensed data. Unlike surface observations which directly sample the air, data such as satellite images are collect from afar. There are definitely some advantages and disadvantages that arise from using satellite data. The key is to know just exactly what you are looking at and not make poor assumptions when interpreting them.
On to Lesson 3!