During the past 25 years, the growth of air traffic has reached the point where it must frequently compete with hazardous weather for the available, limited capacity of air routes and terminals. Furthermore, there have been enormous changes in weather forecasting techniques and improvements in communications technology. The National Research Council and the National Transportation Safety Board recognized some of the unrealized opportunities at the CWSUs and have recommended changes and improvements in the delivery of aviation weather products. The FAA and the NWS are now joined in a preparing for the restructuring of the CWSUs.
The new mission of the CWSUs is to be cognizant of hazardous weather information coverall all phases of flight, participate in strategic planning, and support the transition to tactical operations. This mission is defined by the needs of the national system of traffic management that meet the objectives of safety, efficiency, and security.
New products are being designed: Hub Forecasts and TRACON Forecasts. The standards for a traditional product (Center Weather Advisory, CWA) will be changed. . An Interactive Weather Briefing (IWB) is a critical for success. A Proof of Concept is being conducted during 2004.
Restructured CWSUs in the CONUS will be consolidated at a limited number of sites where a sufficient number of meteorologists can address the needs of the entire National Airspace System (NAS) that includes all the ARTCCs and national centers as well as commercial and business aviation.