The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) code form FM 94 BUFR (Binary Universal Form for the Representation of meteorological data) is a binary code designed to represent, employing a continuous binary stream, any meteorological data. There is, however, nothing uniquely meteorological about BUFR. The meteorological emphasis is the result of the origin of the code. The code form may be applied to any numerical or qualitative data type.
The key to understanding the power of BUFR is the code's self-descriptive nature. A BUFR "message" (or record, the terms are interchangeable in this context) containing observational data of any sort also contains a complete description of what those data are: the description includes identifying the parameter in question, (height, temperature, pressure, latitude, date and time, whatever), the units, any decimal scaling that may have been employed to change the precision from that of the original units, data compression that may have been applied for efficiency, and the number of binary bits used to contain the numeric value of the observation. This data description is all contained in tables which are the major part of the BUFR documentation.
Now all GRIB, BUFR and CREX codes are available as RDF from the WMO Registry: http://codes.wmo.int/.
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