Below are plots of SYNOP/BUOY/radiosonde BUFR coverage for September 2018 - reports as decoded at ECMWF, some reports not in standard BUFR are not decoded. Daily coverage (updated automatically) is available from the Monitoring Maps
Please can data producers ensure that there is a reasonable overlap of TAC and BUFR data on the GTS (at least two months, EUMETNET and GCOS recommend six months), any attempt to rush the change will result in more errors, extra work for NWP centres and possibly worse forecasts. Most countries give notice via METNOs or the WMO newsletter. Note also that reformatted TEMP reports still as separate parts are not regulation BUFR and cause problems for NWP centres (some more than others).
Surface (SYNOP) coverage
About 86% of stations now report in BUFR, in early 2018 Ukraine and Kazakhstan started sending BUFR reports. Coverage for Europe is essentially complete apart from three NMSs (Bulgaria, Moldova and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). For some countries stations/reports designated as "additional data" only are received in TAC but not in BUFR. Light blue markers indicate that fewer BUFR reports are received than SYNOP reports - in most cases the BUFR is six-hourly but the SYNOPs are three-hourly. (Unlike TEMP data, below, alphanumeric SYNOP reports reformatted into BUFR are generally acceptable.)
Countries that have notified the end of TAC SYNOP transmission on the GTS are shown green (this is not fully up-to-date) and labelled 'Post SYNOP'. Recently some stations in Africa (Mauritania and other countries) have only been available in BUFR. ECMWF is assimilating BUFR surface reports from these countries plus some others.
(Grey: TAC reports but no BUFR, Purple: BUFR reports but no TAC, Red *: position error. Light/dark blue indicates that there are less/more than 60% of the reports available in BUFR.)
On 6 June 2016 ECMWF started passively monitoring BUFR BUOY data in its operational system, assimilation of pressure data started in July 2016, many alphanumeric (FM18) reports ceased on 2 November 2016. For drifting buoys the BUFR feed is almost complete now helped by the fact that fewer data producers are involved (there are about 20 Indian and a few Japanese buoys not using the approved template as yet). In mid-2016 there were 51 pressure-reporting buoys reporting in BUFR but not in FM18, some of these were moored buoys including 7 PIRATA or RAMA buoys which also report subsurface temperature and salinity. Template 315008 is used for moored buoys and 315009 for drifting buoys. More details of the marine data can be found in the E-SURFMAR pages (one issue is the move from 5-digit to 7-digit identifiers, this means that some newer buoys cannot really be coded using FM18). The plot below does not include the moored buoys that currently report in TM13 (SHIP) code - at some point these will start using the 315008 template. Note that about half the buoys, shown in light blue, do not report pressure (especially those in the tropical Pacific and the Mediterranean, they are deployed to measure SST and currents).
(Grey: TAC reports but no BUFR, Dark blue - BUFR reports including pressure, Light blue - BUFR reports without pressure. Circles/triangles - drifting/moored buoys.)
In 2017/18 a number of European ships started using new EUCAWS hardware and software. They report (with identifier EUC*) in BUFR only.
Most Argo reports are available in BUFR, with higher vertical resolution. Argo buoys stoped reporting in the alphanumeric TESAC code on 1 July 2018.
About 73% of stations report in BUFR, about 42% report native BUFR with roughly 31% reporting reformatted TEMP (see below). The proportion of native high-resolution reports has grown over the last year (now up to 35%), principally due to the roll out of new software in the USA (2017) and in Japan (July 2018). A few BUFR reports are incomplete (eg data above 100 hPa missing). Reports from the ASAP ships are now only available in BUFR format (most ASAPs changed identifier in late 2017). In late 2017 Finland stopped reporting alphanumeric TEMPs followed by Norway in January 2018. Stations in France and three in Turkey no longer provide alphanumeric reports.
(Grey: TAC reports but no BUFR, Purple: BUFR reports but no TAC, Red *: position error. Blue: both BUFR and TAC, light blue indicates fewer ascents in BUFR. Triangle - ship report, X - wind-only report.)
The plot below distinguishes native BUFR (stations reporting valid radiosonde drift positions): high/low resolution (dark/light blue, using 300 level threshold) from reformatted TEMP (orange). There are now high resolution reports from all continents.
Almost all reformatted TEMP reports are sent as separate parts (A/B/C/D), this is contrary to the BUFR coding rules (there should be a single report containing data for the whole ascent) and reformatted TEMP reports are regarded as unusable by ECMWF and most other NWP centres. BUFR reports generated directly from the radiosonde raw data are much better.