89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009: 4:00 PM
Environmental Information for the Next Generation Air Transportation System
Room 224AB (Phoenix Convention Center)
John J. Murray, NASA/LRC, Hampton, VA; and C. Miner and T. E. Ryan
Poster PDF (137.1 kB)
It is estimated that weather is responsible for approximately 70% of all air traffic delays and cancellations. Annually, this produces an overall economic loss of nearly $40B. These and other negative impacts on the U.S. National Airspace System will increase to the point of unsustainability unless the system is radically transformed. A Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) was proposed to accommodate the increasing demand for capacity and the super-density operations that this transformation will entail. The heart of the environmental information component that is being developed for the new system will be a 4-dimensional data cube which will include a single authoritative source for NextGen Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems.

Aviation weather constraints and safety hazards typically comprise meso-scale, storm-scale as well as microscale observables. With this in mind, functional and performance requirements for the NextGen weather system are being established that will require significant improvements in current observations and forecasting capabilities. This will include satellite observations from geostationary and/or polar-orbiting sounders, imagers, lightning mappers, space weather monitors and other environmental observing systems. These observations will be used to better understand aviation system constraints and hazards such as convective weather, in-flight icing, turbulence, volcanic ash, space weather and the environmental impacts of aviation.

In 2003, a Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) was established by public law to meet the significant challenges that NextGen presents. JPDO partners include, but are not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as well as broad elements of academia and industry. This paper provides the satellite meteorology community with useful insight on salient NextGen environmental information requirements that have been developed by the JPDO Weather Working Group. These efforts will help to shape current and future environmental satellite system capabilities, operations and applications.

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