89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 13 January 2009
A tactical decision aid to limit the impacts of thunderstorms on climb and descent traffic at the Orlando International Airport
Hall 5 (Phoenix Convention Center)
Matthew Volkmer, NOAA/NWS/Weather Forecast Office, Melbourne, FL; and S. Spratt, C. Baxter, D. Sharp, R. Mobbs, M. Rosencrans, J. Peters, C. Abelman, and P. Witsaman
Poster PDF (814.1 kB)
As part of an aviation demonstration initiative within the National Weather Service, collaboratively produced thunderstorm forecasts for the volume of air space within a 75 nautical mile radius of the Orlando International Airport were produced during the summer of 2008. This Florida effort sought to build upon the results of an initial demonstration which took place in 2007 at Minneapolis, MN, with the continued purpose of developing a convective forecast product that fills the gap between the Terminal Aerodrome Forecast for take-off and landing traffic and the Collaborative Convective Forecast Product for en route traffic. That is, the intent was to provide an operational tactical decision aid for traffic flow decision makers to help ease the negative impacts of thunderstorms on climb and descent traffic. The experimental product suite consisted of a series of six 1-hour thunderstorm coverage graphics issued twice per day at 1500 UTC and 1800 UTC. Individual graphics depicted the expected thunderstorm coverage during each hour. The forecasts were collaboratively produced by the Weather Forecast Office in Melbourne, FL, and the Center Weather Service Units in Jacksonville and Miami, FL. The aviation section of the United Parcel Service also provided critical industry insight to the collaborative forecast process. The forecast maps were color-coded to convey the geographic distribution of storm coverage indicated as being either None, Isolated, Scattered, Numerous, or Widespread. It is hoped that once fully developed, this tactical decision aid will result in benefits which support increased air traffic in and out of the Orlando International Airport, while decreasing the average amount of fuel per aircraft. It should also help to minimize flight cancellations and total delay minutes as a result of Peninsular Florida thunderstorms. This presentation will describe the collaborative forecast methodology employed during the demonstration, along with specific experiences regarding forecast workload, product utility, and industry feedback. A verification of the twice daily forecasts will also be presented.

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