Overview of the 2013 Aviation Weather Testbed Activities: Winter and Summer Experiments

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Steven A. Lack, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Aviation Weather Center, Kansas City, MO; and R. L. Solomon, A. R. Harless, B. R. J. Schwedler, A. M. Terborg, B. P. Pettegrew, D. Blondin, S. Silberburg, B. Entwistle, D. Vietor, and D. Bright
Manuscript (1.7 MB)

Handout (1.2 MB)

The Aviation Weather Center (AWC) in Kansas City, MO hosted the First Aviation Weather Testbed (AWT) Winter Experiment from February 11-22, 2013 and the Third AWT Summer Experiment August 12-23, 2013. The primary goal of both experiments was to demonstrate and evaluate new datasets, tools, and deliverables with the participation of AWC forecasters, academia, governments, and industry participants in a simulated operational environment focused on air traffic impact. A description of each the main objectives and methodologies for both experiments will be presented along with a brief summary of findings.

The Inaugural AWT Winter Experiment was focused on evaluating both operational and experimental products focusing on turbulence, icing and ceiling and visibility. Operationally, a forecaster issues Graphical AIRMETs for all of these variables for a particular third of the country during a shift; however, during this experiment the workstations were set up so that a group of participants could compare and contrast multiple forecasts for one particular forecast hazard across the CONUS for a day. This paradigm shift in the forecasting process allowed the forecasters to provide valuable feedback and view the strengths and weaknesses of products they may not have time to examine on an operational shift. Additionally, an experimental desk aimed at winter weather decision support worked in tandem with decision support experiments being held at the WPC's Winter Weather Experiment to produce experimental briefings intended for emergency management and transportation interests.

The Third AWT Summer Experiment focused primarily on forecasting high-impact convection on multiple scales of interest, from regional to global, however some additional aviation impact variables were considered, such as: ceiling, visibility, and winds. Throughout the two weeks, five experimental workstations were set up each with their own individual goals, including: an experimental CCFP desk, an experimental Convective SIGMET desk, a National Aviation Meteorologist (NAM) experimental desk, a global convection desk, and a situational awareness desk (including GOES-R simulated products and a variety of observation and nowcasting datasets). A primary task for the experimental desks was to issue operational products using both operational and experimental guidance available within the AWT. Additionally, some desks were asked to issue modified operational products that provide additional information useful to traffic flow management decision making.