Monday, 4 October 2004
The National Weather Service supports the Federal Aviation Administrations mission to conduct activities which promote a safe and efficient National Airspace System (NAS) through a variety of products and services, many of which have not appreciably changed for decades. Recently, however, and in partnership with the FAA, NWS has begun to lay out a roadmap for improved aviation weather products and services which will support NAS operations in the 21st century. Increased access to and use of human and automated observations, both at the surface and in flight, combined with research efforts of the FAA and NASA, and increased emphasis on meteorologist and pilot/dispatcher training are beginning to measurably increase accuracy, timeliness, and relevance of NWS produced aviation weather products. NWS is investing significant resources in these areas to compliment the activities of fellow U.S. Government agencies, shortening the time to bring the results of research into operations and increasing the number and ability of forecaster based guidance tools to assist forecasters in meeting ever increasing aviation weather product requirements. At the same time, aviation products are transitioning from text based to graphical displays, for access over mediums such as the internet and available for private sector use for transmission directly into the cockpit. Old Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) will be updated to take advantage of new products such as the Graphical Area Forecast, increasing the product refresh rate while also increasing product accuracies. FAAs Joint Planning and Development Office envisions a future NAS with triple the capacity, which will continue to increase weather product accuracy as well as the number of locations supported. The number of airports served by NWS TAFs are expected to increase by over 600% over the next 10 years.
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