Air traffic control centers and airline dispatch offices, of course, have ready access to some meteorological information, often including near real-time imagery from geostationary satellites that cover most or all of the long-range oceanic routes. Neither controllers nor dispatchers, however, are trained meteorologists, hampering their ability to provide detailed and timely updates of meteorological hazards to individual aircraft. The three legs of the operational "triad"-pilots, dispatchers, and controllers-clearly do not share the same temporal and spatial weather information when attempting to make collaborative decisions. The Oceanic Weather Product Development Team (OWPDT) is addressing this often-recognized void through applied research on oceanic weather phenomena and the development of advanced techniques to create information from sparse data sources.
The OWPDT is performing applied research toward developing diagnoses, nowcasts, and forecasts of convection, all forms of turbulence, volcanic ash dispersion, in-flight icing, and flight level winds for oceanic/remote regions where data is sparse. In parallel, the Team is investigating and implementing appropriate methods of end-user dissemination, such as ground displays and data link to airborne flight crews. The focus is on informational products, not data products, which are more readily used by non-meteorologists for decision support. This paper will describe the progress of OWPDT research and development activities, and results of user evaluations of higher resolution (time and space) informational weather products never before available to flight crews, dispatchers, and air traffic managers.