3. When the chart opens (drum roll), the first thing to do is to check the "GENERATED" time/date/month in the top left corner. Make sure you are not looking at an old chart! Check that the GENERATED time/date/month is later than the chart you're expecting. For example, if you are looking for today's 13UTC chart, check the time is after 13:00 and the date is today. The charts become available anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes past the hour, so the new chart may not have been uploaded yet. Also, heaven forbid, things do occasionally go wrong and a chart may not be produced at all.
4. (Nearly there...) The chart will show the familiar pressure lines (isobars) in red, similar lines for temperature (isotherms) in green, and also grey wind streamlines. Most important, though, are the station plots dotted all over the map. These are what make true synoptic charts special. Each plot gives a detailed description of the weather at a weather station in a plot that would fit under a 5c piece. Template 7 is always to the left of the map to remind you how the plot is laid out.
If you're a first time user or need more detailed information, check out the General Chart FAQ & Tutorial.
You may find these reference charts useful: World countries (2.8mb) and World timezones (1.2mb)
If you have any comments on, or suggested improvements to, the maps, I would greatly welcome feedback.
Australian data is provided
by the Bureau of Meteorology.
International data used are the publicly available coded synoptic and aviation METAR reports
produced by national meteorological agencies and distributed over the WMO
GTS. The synoptic reports are used subject to WMO Resolution 40 (Cg-XII) which reduces the availability of freely usable data from some countries, mostly in Europe.