- After U.S. weather observing practice, the height ascribed to the lowest layer of clouds or obscuring phenomena when it is reported as broken, overcast, or obscuration and not classified "thin" or "partial." The ceiling is termed unlimited when the foregoing conditions are not satisfied. Whenever the height of a cirriform cloud layer is unknown, a slant / is reported in lieu of a height value. At all other times, the ceiling is expressed in feet above the surface, which is a horizontal plane with an elevation above sea level equal to the airport elevation. At stations where this does not apply, "surface" refers to the ground elevation at the point of observation.
For obscurations, the ceiling height represents vertical visibility into the obscuring phenomena rather than the height of the base, as in the case of clouds or obscuring phenomena aloft. In an aviation weather observation, the ceiling height is always preceded by a letter that designates the ceiling classification.
Copyright 2022 American Meteorological Society (AMS). For permission to reuse any portion of this work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S. Code § 107) or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S.Copyright Act (17 USC § 108) does not require AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, require written permission or a license from AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement.