Wednesday, 15 May 2002: 4:15 PM
Demonstration of the Marine Stratus Forecast (MSF) Product
Marine stratus clouds in the vicinity of the approach zone into San Francisco International Airport (SFO) prohibit dual approaches to the closely spaced parallel runways, thereby reducing airport capacity by half. Accurate forecasts of marine stratus burnoff, prior to SFO's morning arrival push, may enable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Traffic Management Coordinators to plan proactively, and help prevent either wasted capacity or unacceptable levels of airborne holding delay and aircraft diversions. The Marine Stratus Forecast (MSF) product, developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratories (MIT/LL) and sponsored by the FAA's Aviation Weather Research Program, was designed to accurately forecast marine stratus burnoff occurring in the SFO approach zone. The MSF product relies on weather observations from a network of sensors surrounding the San Francisco Bay region. Data from these sensors are processed for display and input into a suite of algorithms designed to forecast the time of approach zone clearing. The product displays graphical and textual depictions of both observation data (e.g. SOnic Detection And Ranging (SODAR) Inversion Base graphs and solar radiation plots) and forecasts of marine stratus burnoff times. Forecasts are given based upon four algorithms and a consensus that are update hourly between 1300 UTC and 1800 UTC. To assess the efficacy of the MSF product for operational use, test personnel from the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center conducted a formal demonstration of the MSF during the 2001 marine stratus season (May - October) at the Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) at the FAA's Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center. In addition to the CWSU forecasters, United Airlines meteorologists were also asked to provide feedback on MSF use and perceptions, since SFO is a major hub for United Airlines. Objectives of the demonstration were to assess the extent the MSF may or may not have affected CWSU forecaster accuracy skill, and ascertain the performance, utility, task benefit, effect on shared situational awareness, and interface applicability of the MSF product. Demonstration results will be presented at the conference.