ALPHA is a data-driven system. It is primarily composed of C++ applications that have been tested and used in other software systems all over the world. These applications are organized in a chain to convert and combine data types, remap data to a common grid, derive interest fields, and create graphical outputs of the HIWC hazard. The system runs continuously, polling data directories for new data to process. ALPHA also includes a system monitoring capability and an interactive JAVA-based display.
Two instances of the prototype system monitor the CONUS and northern Australia. An iterative software development process is used to ensure that the introduction of new functionality is integrated properly with the rest of the system. Since ALPHA was structured to readily change the interest field calculation and test improvements, new data sets (such as lightning or additional satellite-based products) may be incorporated into the algorithm. ALPHA will be tested in a field campaign in Darwin, Australia, during which an instrumented research aircraft will fly through clouds to collect information about their microphysical properties and verify the accuracy and significance of the interest values calculated by the algorithm.
This research is in response to requirements and funding by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the FAA. Additional support was provided by a NASA ROSES grant.