Wikipedia:WikiProject Tropical cyclones/Style

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cyclone barnstar.png

Tropical Cyclones

WikiProject home (talk)
Archives: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
| 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16
| 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
| 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32

Task forces

Seasons task force (talk)
Storms task force (talk)
Meteorology task force (talk)
Eastern Pacific task force (talk)
Atlantic task force (talk)
Newsletter (talk)
Archives: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
| 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16
| 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
| 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33
Project resources (talk)
Jargon (talk)
WikiProject statistics (talk)
Article requests (talk)
Merging discussions (talk)
Vital articles (talk)
Style guidelines (talk)
Article tables by quality (talk)


Main assessment page (talk)
Assessment tables (talk)
Assessment log (talk)
Assessment statistics (talk)

Tropical cyclones portal

This is an attempt to document a few existing unwritten guidelines for Wikipedia:WikiProject Tropical cyclones.

Nomenclature and naming conventions[edit]

Named storms[edit]

Individual storm articles for named storms are named using a "<tropical cyclone> <name> [(<year>)]" methodology. This means that an article is named one of the synonyms for tropical cyclone (e.g., "Hurricane"), followed by its given name (e.g., "Katrina"), then if necessary the year in parenthesis (e.g., "(2005)").

Tropical cyclone[edit]

The maximum intensity used in the storm title depends on the tropical cyclone basin in which the article reached that intensity. For storms that reached hurricane status or equivalent, use the following table to determine the name used in the article's title:

Tropical cyclone "maximum intensity" naming chart, per basin
Basin Names
Eastern Pacific Hurricane
Tropical Storm
Tropical Depression
Central Pacific
Western Pacific Typhoon
Tropical Storm
Tropical Depression
North Indian Cyclone
Tropical Storm
Tropical Depression
Southern Hemisphere

For articles that spanned several basins, and for which several intensity names can apply (e.g. Hurricane Ioke) are handled on a case-by-case basis.


This is simply the name of the storm as given by the main warning center, such as "Katrina" or "Dog".


For storms that were retired, no parenthetical disambiguation is required (Hurricane Katrina); for storms that were not removed from the naming lists, a parenthetical disambiguation is used (Hurricane Nora (1997)). If the storm is the only occurrence of a particular name (Hurricane Gracie), the year can be left off.

Unnamed storms[edit]

Just like named storms, unnamed ones should have an identifier as well as a "tropical cyclone" term and a year. The exact order these go in can vary; there is no single standard but naming should aim to be consistent with article sources as well as other storms within that season/basin/era. Capitalization too can vary — often parts of the "name" should not be capitalized as the unnamed storm is not a proper noun, but there isn't much consistency here as sources often do treat it like a proper noun.


The "identifier" is simply a name or number distinguishing the storm from others in that year. When possible this should be a common name used to refer to the storm in popular sources; this is most useful for famous older storms which have lots of references within literature. Otherwise, the following examples list cases where common names may not be found.

Possible identifiers include:

Tropical cyclone[edit]

Use the variant of the word tropical cyclone appropriate for the basin and strength of the storm, e.g., "hurricane", "typhoon", "tropical depression", etc. See the table above. There are rare exceptions to this for storms that already have an accepted "common name", as for storms of older eras not recognized as tropical (Great September Gale of 1815) or for mixed tropical/baroclinic storms (1991 Halloween Nor'easter).


The Common Era year may either go at the beginning (1900 Galveston hurricane) or at the end with parenthesis as is done with named storms (Tropical Depression Ten (2007)). For storms spanning multiple years the year of formation is generally used. Very rarely the month may be included along with the year (as with the named storm Hurricane Alice (December 1954), though the month can also serve as an identifier on its own). For a storm where the precise year was not known, the decade or century could still be used.

It is extremely rare that the year can be left out; the situation for that would be a common name in which the year does not appropriately fit such as Kamikaze (typhoon). Even well known storms such as the Great Hurricane of 1780 that lack a year in most sources, should still be given one in wikipedia.

Season articles[edit]

Season articles are generally given a name following the <Year> <Basin Max Intensity> season formula. Hence, the tropical cyclone season in the Eastern Pacific during 1997 is given the name "1997 Pacific hurricane season". For the Southern Hemisphere, there are two hurricane season articles for every given year (e.g. 2003–04 Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season and 2004–05 Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season), as the seasons there span adjacent calendar years.

Older storm seasons are usually grouped together by decade, by century, or similar large intervals.

Regional storm lists[edit]

These articles are given names based on the hypothetical maximum intensity of a tropical cyclone affecting the region. For example, California can, in paper, be affected by Pacific hurricanes (and has, by the 1858 San Diego Hurricane); hence its regional list is named List of California hurricanes. Although Arizona has not been affected by a hurricane, the state can be impacted by one, at least in theory, so its list is at List of Arizona hurricanes.

Storm article organization[edit]

Each article that deals about an individual tropical cyclone (e.g. Hurricane Mitch) is divided the following way:

  1. Lead
  2. Meteorological history
  3. Preparations
  4. Impact
  5. Aftermath/Naming/Records (see below)
  6. Current storm information (for current storms)
  7. See also
  8. References
  9. External links

Changing the structure for a particular article should only be done if there is a substantial consensus to do so.

The Impact and Aftermath sections may be combined if there is not enough information to warrant both of them to be present, or, less frequently, if one section overwhelms the other in size. In case there is not enough content to write a Preparations section, it can be replaced with a Naming section after the Impact/Aftermath section. If necessary, combine those sections into a "Impact and naming" heading.

The last three sections are in the order specified by the Guide to layout. The Guide to layout is confusing about the breadth of the "Notes" and "References" sections, so use the following interpretation as a rule of thumb: "Notes" are extraneous, in-detail explanations of points, while "References" include the output of Cite.php or a different referencing system. As a result, avoid using "Notes" sections unless absolutely necessary, and instead merge the explanation into the main prose of the article.

When mentioning specific times, it should be in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), and not any other specific time zone. As a result, specifying AM or PM is not an issue, as UTC uses the 24-hour clock. In general, it is good not to overuse exact times, as it disrupts the flow of prose.

Additionally, for recent storm seasons, use a button bar template, similar to {{2005 Atlantic hurricane season buttons}}, as the navigational footer for the page, if one exists.


The lead section, or introduction, is the primary focal point of the article. It must define what the article stands for, and do so elegantly and concisely. While the lead's format depends on the size of the article, a good rule of thumb is to summarize any noteworthy records in the first paragraph, impact statistics in the second, and the storm's or season's aftermath in the last paragraph. Even if the article is not large enough to generate three paragraphs, having the lead touch these points in this order is still a good idea.

Leads should avoid being purely statistical summaries, and instead must strive to be appealing to the general non-meteorologist reader. While not mandated by Wikipedia policy, in general, leads for articles about individual tropical cyclone should be a summary of the article, not an introduction. Additionally, they must cover material located only within the article, and that is adequately referenced to Wikipedia standards. For this reason, footnotes in the lead section are discouraged, but not prohibited.

The lead must contain an infobox; which one depends on the type of article. For individual storm articles use {{Infobox Hurricane}} (note capitalization; the older {{Infobox hurricane}} is deprecated). The particulars of what to place in the infobox are discussed in the Infobox section below.

Hurricane Katrina

The standard canned boilerplate for individual storms is the following:

The above passage is dry, boring, and is of interest to no one but hardcore statisticians, so it should be avoided whenever possible; while it is by no means prohibited, it is strongly discouraged. A better example for a lead paragraph would be:

The primary feature of that paragraph is that it includes the principal claim to infamy of the storm, plus a description of the storm's impact. Meteorological statistics are not mentioned until the last sentence of the paragraph.


Multiple infoboxes exist for hurricane articles. {{Infobox hurricane}} was the old infobox, and is now deprecated; for most articles, {{Infobox Hurricane}} is the appropriate replacement. The exception is current storm articles: These use {{Infobox hurricane current}}. For aesthetic appeal and consistency, MODIS images are preferred; if unavailable, use other free high-resolution satellite imagery for the infobox picture. Peak intensity pictures are favored over landfall pictures, which in turn are favored over other images. For older storms, use radar images, damage pictures or surface analysis maps, if available.

Meteorological history[edit]

The meteorological history section must be present in all articles for individual tropical cyclones; no article may be above {{Stub-Class}} without it. It should provide a concise description of each facet of a storm: from its origin as a tropical wave or extratropical low pressure area, to its peak intensity, and landfalls, if any. This section is always in chronological order. Begin this section with {{storm path}}.

One common problem is that this section tends to become excessively mired in technical jargon. This section is the most challenging, in a way, as it must be meteorologically accurate, while still accessible to an educated layman. Try explaining technical vocabulary such as "outflow" and "convection" within the text, instead of just assuming the reader knows it. Linking to terms is always good, but requiring extensive background reading to understand the passage is not ideal. If unsure whether a term is jargon or not, consult the common jargon list; synonyms and alternative wordings for many technical terms are included there.

If this section becomes too long, split it into a "Meteorological history of X" page, such as Meteorological history of Hurricane Katrina and Meteorological history of Hurricane Wilma.

Another common problem here is with older storms which do not have sources for the full synoptic-scale history. In such a case the {{storm path}} can be left off; just do the best you can for the rest of the summary. Remember, there's nothing wrong with saying that information is not known! 1780 Great Hurricane is probably a good example of this case.


This section is essential for landfalling storms, and if possible, should be sub-divided by area. If a storm makes an impact on two separate regions or administrative divisions, list the regions chronologically.

In this section, it is important to include information such as previously-issued tropical cyclone watches and warnings, evacuation orders, shutdowns of major corporations or government entities, and similar.


The impact should provide an overview for all land areas affected by storms that affected land. For storms that caused minimal impact to land, or caused indirect impact, the section should be as comprehensive as possible. Possible examples of impact for non-landfalling storms include beach erosion, lifeguard rescues, or increased winds from a high pressure system. For storms that caused moderate to heavy impact largely to one area (examples: Hurricane Fabian or Hurricane Ioke), the info should go into more depth than what would be considered an overview.

For storms with minor to moderate impact to more than one area, the section should provide a comprehensive overview for each area impacted. If there is enough info, the section should be divided into sub-sections for each major area. The impact should include a section for meteorological statistics, meaning wind maxima, rainfall totals, surge values, wave heights, beach erosion, tornadoes, and/or river crests. The next paragraph should have general statistics interspersed with important specific details; similar topics (such as impact on housing, or environmental impact) should be kept together. Statistics that are important to include in each section include people affected by power outages, injuries, population affected, major roadways closed, flooding details, and houses damaged/destroyed, while vital statistics are damage totals and death totals.

For storms with major impact in more than one area, one or more sub-articles might be warranted, such as Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans or Effects of Hurricane Isabel in North Carolina. The articles should either divide information by sub-regions or by topic. In all cases, the sub-articles should be linked to the main article following the guidelines set by summary style.

Ideally a damage image should be included in the section, though if it not possible an image from the Tropical cyclone rainfall page should be used. If neither are available, another satellite image can be used. For longer articles, more than one image might be warranted, to avoid having large tracts of un-illustrated prose.

Aftermath, naming, and records[edit]

The following sections are optional, depending on the characteristics of the storm. In most instances, some or all of the following sections can be merged together, and in some cases, potentially could be merged with the impact section.


For most storms, the damage is not great enough for there to be a significant aftermath of the storm. In instances where there is some aftermath, but not a significant amount, than it would suffice for that info to be interspersed with alike info in the Impact section. For example, if there is reported aftermath in one of the earlier areas, than the aftermath could go there, and not at the end of the impact section.

For the more impacting storms, including most landfalling hurricanes, there should be a separate aftermath section. Topics to discuss include emergency declarations, aid for the affected people, info on evacuees returned home, when/how impacted houses/buildings are rebuilt, and overall information on how the cyclone's impact was undone. For storms that had a long lasting impact, be sure to mention its long range affects.


For most storms, a separate naming section is not necessary. Information on retirement generally goes in the Aftermath section. It is optional to list previous usages of the name in the section/paragraph. Naming records are appropriate here.


If a tropical cyclone broke a record, it is appropriate to mention the previous record in the same section. There are occasions when a particular record isn't highly publicized; however, if it is verifiable by HURDAT or other best tracks worldwide, it is acceptable.

For most cases, a separate section for records is unnecessary. In most cases, this information can be safely placed in the Aftermath section, or woven into the Meteorological history section.

Current storm information[edit]

If a storm is currently active, a current storm information should be provided. This section restates in prose all the current position, intensity and movement information for the storm (similar to {{Infobox hurricane current}}), and expands upon watches, warnings and other hazards as noted by the RSMC's advisory package in a Watches and warnings subsection. {{Infobox hurricane current}} links to this section via its |stormarticle= and |sectnum= parameters.

Hurricane Earl (2010)

Watches and warnings[edit]

This subsection should be placed within a level-3 heading (===Watches and warnings===) under Current storm information and it should contain a table listing the areas currently under some sort of tropical cyclone advisory. Additionally, any hazards listed by the RSMC may be optionally listed, as in the example below.

Use {{HurricaneWarningsTable}} to neatly organize warnings in basins under the National Hurricane Center's purview. Link only the first occurrence of a region on the table: there is no need to link "United States" or "Mexico" four times.

Hurricane Earl (2010)
Hurricane Warning
Hurricane conditions
expected within 36 hours.
Hurricane Watch
Hurricane conditions
possible within 48 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning
Tropical storm conditions expected within 36 hours.
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Puerto Rico, including the islands of Culebra and Vieques
  • United States Virgin Islands

The last part of the section should include a link to the latest official information provided by the RSMC. For NHC basins, use the following template. For other regions, adapt it as necessary (and leave a copy here):

'''For latest official information see:'''
*The NHC's [{{{num}}}+shtml/ latest public advisory on {{{stormname}}}].
*The NHC's [{{{num}}}+shtml/ latest Forecast Discussion on {{{stormname}}}].

See also[edit]

The first section after the prose of the article is the see also section. The first item must be {{Portal|Tropical cyclones}}, which is a link to the tropical cyclone portal. For a storm article, after that, the article should list a few relevant links. Generally, the link should not be to List of tropical cyclones, List of Atlantic hurricanes, or List of Pacific hurricanes, as that was the previous standard. Instead, the link should go somewhere relevant. Retired storms and Category 5 storms should have List of retired Atlantic hurricane names and List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes, respectively. If the storm caused impact in an area that has a List of XXX hurricanes article, such a link would be useful. Otherwise, a link to Climate of XX or Geography of XX would suffice. For the lesser impacting storms, a new proposal was accepted to link to the dab page.

Tropical Storm Alberto (2006)

==See also==
{{Portal|Tropical cyclones}}

Season article organization[edit]

For season articles, there are two prevalent formats: the "old" format (generally used in seasons before the year 2000) (e.g. 1933 Atlantic hurricane season), and the "new" format (e.g. 2007 Atlantic hurricane season). Both treatments have essentially identical structures, with the exception of the Storms section. Most modern season articles start with the old format, and are later converted to the new format to shrink the article's size. However, when a conversion is done, the old content in the Storms section should be moved to a "List of storms" article, such as List of storms in the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season.

Thus, season articles should be organized in the following way:

  1. Season summary, as part of the Lede
  2. Seasonal forecasts
  3. Storms
  4. Impact
  5. Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE)
  6. Records and statistics
  7. Storm names
  8. Season effects
  9. See also
  10. References
  11. External links

These guidelines work well for 900+ articles; however, there are a few exceptions (such as 2005 Atlantic hurricane season) to this rule, depending on the size and impact of the storm or season. Changing the structure for a particular article should only be done if there is a substantial consensus to do so.

The last three sections are in the order specified by the Guide to layout. The Guide to layout is confusing about the breadth of the "Notes" and "References" sections, so use the following interpretation as a rule of thumb: "Notes" are extraneous, in-detail explanations of points, while "References" include the output of Cite.php or a different referencing system. As a result, avoid using "Notes" sections unless absolutely necessary, and instead merge the explanation into the main prose of the article.


The same principles as for storm articles apply to season articles. The lede should be a summary of the tropical cyclone season, and not just an introduction, and should be sufficiently independent to stand by itself.

For season articles, use {{Infobox hurricane season}}. The particulars of what to place in the infobox are discussed in the Infobox section below.

2005 Atlantic hurricane season

The standard boilerplate, {{hurricane season single}}, introduces the hurricane season, and its chronological limits. While this lead is good, it is not ideal:

Instead, consider emphasizing casualties, damage, and records, with something similar to the following example:

Seasonal forecasts[edit]

Predictions of tropical activity in the 2007 season
Source Date Named
Hurricanes Major
CSU Average (1950–2000) 9.6 5.9 2.3
NOAA Average (1950–2005) 11.0 6.2 2.7
Record high activity 28 15 8
Record low activity 4 2 0
CSU December 8, 2006 14 7 3
CSU April 3, 2007 17 9 5
NOAA May 22, 2007 13–17 7–10 3–5
CSU May 31, 2007 17 9 5
UKMO June 19, 2007 10* N/A N/A
CSU August 3, 2007 15 8 4
NOAA August 9, 2007 13–16 7–9 3–5
CSU September 4, 2007 15 7 4
CSU October 2, 2007 17 7 3
Actual activity 15 6 2
* July–November only: 12 storms observed in this period.

This section documents preseason and midseason forecasts by reputable publications, if available. The preseason and midseason forecasts should be presented both in prose and table format, and the table should point out how many 35-knot, 64-knot, and 100-knot storms (e.g. tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin) the forecasting agency is expecting. Additionally, the levels of actual activity should be noted once the season is over (or an "As of {{date}}" notation added to the actual activity levels).

Typically, this section has a brief one-paragraph introduction, where the definitions of an average, above-average and below-average season are presented. In some cases, the definition for a hyperactive season is presented here, if necessary. The section then has two sub-sections: A #Pre-season forecasts section, and a #Mid-season outlooks section. Each one should be a couple of paragraphs of prose or so, and their content varies greatly dpeending on the season.

An example table and section introduction is included below.

Example 2007 Atlantic hurricane season


As discussed previously, there are two different approaches to this section.

Note: Both formats have their supporters, so establishing a consensus for a switch is generally ideal. A conversion between formats should not be taken during the season; instead, a consensus for a format change should be obtained during the post-season, as that makes writing a List of storms article simple.

Old style[edit]

The way most current season articles are initially constructed is by adding a storm's section when the storm forms, and expanding it as the storm develops, until an individual storm article becomes necessary. In general, each storm section is given with a level-3 heading (e.g. ===Hurricane Alex===, followed by a {{main}} link to the storm's article (if any), and either {{Infobox hurricane small}} or {{Infobox hurricane current}}. The latter infobox can be directly copied from a storm article if the |stormarticle= parameter of the infobox is filled.

A few paragraphs are written about the storm. This prose should summarize the storm irrespective of the existence of a storm article, so it is essentially identical in purpose to a storm article's lede. However, since this section is not in the same page as the main detail in the storm article, all information in these sections must be cited with full inline citations.

Hurricane Alex (2010), with references removed

Most season articles are built in the old style, and then they are optionally converted to the new style, with a List of storms article receiving the content in the season's old Storms section.

New style[edit]

The newer approach is only prose-based; no paragraph demarcation between storms is needed, and no templates are used. This approach gives the editors of the article maximum flexibility for drafting content.

Due to the free-form nature of these sections, only limited guidance can be given on how to write one. That said, storms sections of this nature tend to only discuss impacts of a storm in a broad manner, and make extensive use of storm articles for summary style exposition. The section is split chronologically in months, with the limits for each subsection determined by the season's activity. Some examples of this approach are 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and 2007 Atlantic hurricane season.


This section describes the combined impact of all tropical cyclones in the basin that season in prose. Avoid a proseline laundry list of damage stats and statistics, and emphasize storms that were particularly destructive or deadly. The same considerations as for individual storm articles apply here.

Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE)[edit]

The standard boilerplate for this section in Atlantic hurricane season is as follows:

ACE (104kt²) (Source) — Storm:
1 42.4 Igor 11 4.05 Lisa
2 27.8 Earl 12 3.08 Fiona
3 21.8 Danielle 13 1.88 Shary
4 15.5 Julia 14 1.87 Colin
5 10.9 Tomas 15 1.58 Hermine
6   6.78 Alex 16 1.38 Matthew
7   6.59 Paula 17 0.368 Bonnie
8   5.80 Karl 18 0.245 Gaston
9   4.56 Richard 19 0.123 Nicole
10   4.43 Otto
Total: 161.2
2010 Atlantic hurricane season

The boilerplate should be modified for other basins; if so, post a copy on this page. Make sure that following the publication of all post-season analyses, that the season's ACE matches the RSMC's, or cite it somewhere. Calculations of ACE are non-trivial operations, so they can be constituted as original research—don't use them when a better source is avaliable.

The ACE table should contain ACE figures for each storm, all rounded to three significant figures. While this means that the ACE figure will have no decimal places if the storm's ACE exceeds 99.9, this is unlikely to ever happen. Thus, the values should be formatted with 1 decimal place if the ACE is 10.0 to 99.9, 2 decimal figures if the ACE is between 1.00 and 9.99, and 3 if the ACE is less than 1.00.

Records and statistics[edit]

Storm names[edit]

Season effects[edit]

See also[edit]


All of the below is based on style guidelines per WP:MOS.
Note: The names and titles used as examples in this guide are fictional and do not represent real articles or reports unless otherwise stated


  • For news and journal articles, the title of the article is written in lower case. Naturally, proper nouns, as well as names of places, people, etc., retain their capitalization. Example: Not More Than 500,000 Left Homeless in Brenden Moses County by Hurricane Julian, but More than 500,000 left homeless in Brenden Moses County by Hurricane Julian.
  • For reports, books, press releases, and conferences, the title of the text should be fully capitalized. Example: Not Rainfall report on Hurricane Julian and its tropical remnants in Brenden Moses County, but Rainfall Report on Hurricane Julian and its Tropical Remnants in Brenden Moses County.
  • For regular websites, the reference title assumes the capitalization format of the original website title. However, full-caps words or titles still need to be rewritten in lower case.
  • All titles should have proper punctuation per the WP:MOS (e.g. straight  '  rather than curly    apostrophes or quotation marks, spaced en dashes instead of misused spaced hyphens, unspaced colons, semicolons, etc.), even when the source titles may not be stylized as such. Example: Not Brenden Moses County on alert : JULIAN plays wait-and-see - Forecasters warn of storm’s “undivinable” nature, but Brenden Moses County on alert: Julian plays wait-and-see – Forecasters warn of storm's "undivinable" nature.


  • The publication date of a source is listed in the |date= field. While this can normally be found at the top of the source, it is sometimes hidden in a more obscure location (e.g. the bottom of the page, the page history, or the url of the page). For web sources that are frequently updated, use the most recent revision date. If the source is undated, this needs to be indicated by adding "n.d.", as such: |date=n.d.
  • For online sources on web pages that may be suspect to domain changes, the retrieval date (the date upon which the source was found and last accessed) is listed in the |accessdate= field. This is always the case for online newspapers or web sites, though retrieval dates should be considered for online reports as well. For books and journals, even when electronic (such as Google Books), a retrieval date is unnecessary.

Authors vs publishers in reports, press releases or documents[edit]

  • Although these all fall under the |publisher= field, it is rather cumbersome and impractical to include every single parent department (NCEP, NWS, NOAA) in |publisher= for a report or document published by the WPC. Therefore, simply listing the lowest branch as the publisher suffices (so Rainfall Report on Hurricane Julian (Report). Weather Prediction Center.  rather than Rainfall Report on Hurricane Julian (Report). Weather Prediction Center; National Centers for Environmental Prediction, NOAA.  or something).
  • Above all: DO NOT compartmentalize these branches and spread them across the fields. These are the |publisher= of reports, not the |author= or |work=. Example: NOT Hink, Andrew; Weather Prediction Center (2015). Rainfall Report on Hurricane Julian. National Centers for Environmental Prediction (Report). College Park, MD: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  , but simply Hink, Andrew (2015). Rainfall Report on Hurricane Julian (Report). College Park, MD: Weather Prediction Center. )
  • The |work= field is often redundant here, unless the referenced report/document is part of a project, database, or contained in a separate website. In this case the project/database/website name may be listed as work, though this is often optional.
  • A recent example can be found here. This is an undated rainfall report for Hurricane Earl (2010) from Météo-France published on their site, so an appropriate formatting would be {{cite report|url=|title=Earl 2010: Ouragan|publisher=Météo France|date=n.d.|accessdate=September 13, 2015}}. However, note the "Pluies Extrêmes Aux Antilles" ("Extreme Rainfall in the Antilles") at the top of the webpage and within the url; this suggests this is a separate web archive/database for extreme rainfall events in the Antilles, documented by Meteo France as an extension of their website ( In this case, the |work= parameter may serve disclose this additional information.

Newspaper vs publisher vs agency vs author in news articles[edit]

  • In the |newspaper= field (or the more obsolete |work= field), list the name of the newspaper. Online newspapers are sometimes hard to distinguish from web or radio sites; looking for an "About us" section on the site or searching the newspaper name on Wikipedia may help in this case.
  • The |publisher= parameter is used for sources from broadcasters (i.e. BBC), news channels (i.e. CNN, Fox News), radio channels (CBS Radio), etc. For newspapers, listing the publisher is unnecessary and redundant.
  • One of the most frequent errors in newspaper citation formatting is misusing the |author= field for the news agency (i.e. AFP, AP, Reuters, etc.). There is a special |agency= field to list these agencies. Again, only names of individuals should be included in the |author= field.

Identifying a source: What is a website, an article, a chapter, a book, a volume, a series, or a report? (credit goes to User:Fifelfoo)[edit]

Works ought to be cited based on their format—not what media they were produced in. A book can be published online. A sequence of data can be a book. How do we work out what type of citation to use (and by extension which citation template)?

  • Is the work an extended single document, or comprised of identical chapters, and published? It is likely to be a book.
  • Is the work a small unit written by one author, in a work edited by someone else? It is likely to be a chapter.
  • Is the work a small unit written by one author, in a work that is serially published or has an ISSN? It is likely to be an article.
  • Does the work have a unique volume title (e.g., "Volume 4: Hurricanes of the Antarctic")? Then that is likely to be the volume title, and the book title is likely to be the other portion: "Hurricanes of the World. Volume 4: Hurricanes of the Antarctic", where |title=Hurricanes of the World, |volume=Hurricanes of the Antarctic
  • Was the work "unpublished", issued in a declarative manner by an official body? That's a report!
  • Is the work a whole single unit, but part of a larger publishing series of works of an identical type, with a name for the higher order grouping? Then it is in a series and the series name is added to the |series= field (i.e the NHC's Digital Storm Wallet Archive)
  • Only when you've exhausted those possibilities, is something a website (citeweb). Websites aren't serially published, but they aren't declarative and official, but they aren't an extended single document. Particularly when you find a document deep inside a /whole/bunch/of/html/directories/on/a/meteorological/site, it is very likely that the document is part of some other publication, so get out your web browser's location bar, and start removing directories, or click on "Up one level" or "Parent Document" etc... Websites are really institutional "about this organisation", personal, blogs, or the like, and citeweb is meant for them.
  • Important: When we evaluate a work, we evaluate what kind of format the document is, not where it is hosted, or how it is available. If a source is formatted in a print or PDF document with a certain publisher, but hosted by another, unrelated web source, try finding a version by the original source (searching the title in Google). This saves a lot of formatting work. If the work cannot be found elsewhere, the hosting site needs to be mentioned in the citation as well (i.e. adding "as archived by" or "as hosted by" behind the original publisher in the |publisher= field).