A Comparison of Air Traffic Management Decision Aids and Meteorological Tools

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 8:30 AM
B314 (GWCC)
Charles A. West, NOAA/NWS, Hampton, GA

Presentation PDF (396.3 kB)

In this modern age where technology can generate high-resolution meteorological models and user-friendly graphics at real-time speeds, the understanding becomes lost that these products in themselves are simply meteorological tools and do not constitute a comprehensive weather forecast. Like a hammer still requires a carpenter to build a house, current day meteorological models still require a meteorologist to interpret all the pertinent models and assimilate other meteorological products to produce a more accurate and complete forecast. Only when a forecast has reached its most accurate potential, should it be delivered in multi-dimensional color graphics and tactical decision aids.

Meteorological decision aids traditionally fall into two categories within the Federal Aviation Administration, (1) model-derived probabilistic products that describe the chances of a weather phenomena, and (2) deterministic products that forecast a “go/no go” of a specific airport runway or air route program. Deterministic product development often requires knowledge of not only the meteorological situation, but aircraft limits and the limits and capability of the specific airport or route for the forecast tactical decision aid is developed. This study shows through qualitative means that although model-derived probabilistic products seem to be helpful in traffic management decisions, accurate deterministic products and consultations by meteorologists result in a large reduction in aircraft holding and diversions which increased safety and reduce airline costs.