The Binary Universal Form for the Representation of meteorological data (BUFR) is a binary data format maintained by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The latest version is BUFR Edition 4. BUFR Edition 3 is also considered current for operational use.
BUFR was created in 1988 with the goal of replacing the WMO's dozens of character-based, position-driven meteorological codes, such as SYNOP (surface observations), TEMP (upper air soundings) and CLIMAT (monthly climatological data). BUFR was designed to be portable, compact, and universal. Any kind of data can be represented, along with its specific spatial/temporal context and any other associated metadata. In the WMO terminology, BUFR belongs to the category of ''table-driven code forms'', where the meaning of data elements is determined by referring to a set of tables that are kept and maintained separately from the message itself.
==Description of format==
A BUFR message is composed of six sections, numbered zero through five.
* Sections 0, 1 and 5 contain static metadata, mostly for message identification.
* Section 2 is optional; if used, it may contain arbitrary data in any form wished for by the creator of the message (this is only advisable for local use).
* Section 3 contains a sequence of so-called ''descriptors'' that define the form and contents of the BUFR data product.
* Section 4 is a bit-stream containing the message's core data and meta-data values as laid out by Section 3.
The product description contained in Section 3 can be made sophisticated and non-trivial by the use of replication and/or operator descriptors. (See below for a brief overview of the different kinds of descriptors; refer to the WMO Guide on BUFR for further detail.)
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