7.3 Impact-Based Decision Support Services for the National Airspace System: A Case Study of Two High-Impact Thunderstorm Events on Traffic Flow Management

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 3:45 PM
206A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
David Bieger, NWS, Warrenton, VA; and J. Carr Jr., M. T. Eckert, B. A. Smith, K. Struckmann, and B. Waranauskas

Yearly losses to the aviation industry total around $20 billion, with almost two-thirds of those losses attributed to weather. Thunderstorms, low ceiling/visibility, and surface/low-level winds are the greatest contributors to these losses in the National Airspace System (NAS).

The Aviation Weather Center’s (AWC) National Aviation Meteorologists (NAM) provide Impact-Based Decision Support Services (IDSS) at the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) in Warrenton, VA. Their mission is to deliver timely, relevant, accurate and consistent environmental information for the NAS.

The NAMs ensure the safe and efficient movement of aircraft through the National Airspace System (NAS) by supporting FAA planners and decision makers through all phases of flight and all hazardous aviation weather, including thunderstorms, major winter storms, and tropical systems. In addition, the NAMs engage in collaborative decision making with government, industry, and general aviation stakeholders in order to help reduce losses.

This presentation will describe the IDSS provided by the NAMs during two high-impact thunderstorm events that took place in July 2018. The first event saw extreme impacts to operations at Newark International Airport on July 3 when a Level 5 severe thunderstorm quickly developed near the terminal and remained quasi-stationary over a protracted period of time. The second event highlights significant en-route impacts from several areas of scattered thunderstorms that developed along a frontal boundary over the eastern and southern United States on July 6, impacting high-altitude routing of aircraft.

This presentation will demonstrate the wide range of decision-support and collaboration methods that occur at the ATCSCC in order to increase the efficiency of air traffic management in the NAS, as well as the types of deterministic and probabilistic tools used in that process.

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