In preparation for NextGen, the NWS Eastern Region has initiated a pilot project to explore how these new digital aviation services can be integrated into forecast operations. A regional Aviation Science Steering Team was formed with an initial vision to “assess the state of the science” for producing digital aviation forecasts – ceiling and visibility in particular. In tandem, 4 Eastern Region Forecast offices – WFOs Boston/Taunton, MA, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC, Charleston, WV, and Caribou, ME have commenced developing tools and methodologies for preparing experimental gridded aviation forecasts. Most importantly, these offices and the Aviation Science Steering Team are exploring how to more effectively and efficiently incorporate digital aviation services into forecast office operations. Learning from past digital forecast process spin-up experiences, focusing on the forecast process more than the end result products has thus far proven to be a successful paradigm.
Assessments are being made of a number of aviation guidance data sets and an assortment of tools and methods used to generate gridded aviation forecasts. A methodology has also been developed to formally assess the subsequent Terminal Forecasts (TAFs) that result from this new forecast paradigm. Leveraging recent efforts to emphasize and enhance overall short term (0-24 hour) forecasts, several fundamental tenants and foundational requirements have emerged that appear to be essential to successfully developing and implementing digital aviation services capabilities. These initial efforts have yielded a framework for spinning up and integrating these new aviation services into operations that appears to be quite promising. This framework and the efforts and activities undertaken to date will be summarized in this presentation.