Offshore 08 hour Forecasts for Aviation

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 4:15 PM
129A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Haig Iskenderian, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA; and P. M. Lamey, M. S. Veillette, C. J. Mattioli, and E. P. Hassey

Deterministic storm-scale weather forecasts, such as those generated from the FAA's 0-8 hour CoSPA system, are highly valuable to aviation traffic managers. They provide forecasted characteristics of storm structure, strength, orientation, and coverage that are beneficial for tactical and strategic planning purposes in the National Airspace System. However, due to the limits in coverage of the land-based NEXRAD radar network and the size of the domain of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model, the coverage of the CoSPA 0-8 hour deterministic weather forecasts are limited to the CONUS and several hundred km off the US shore. Aviation traffic managers need to know the locations of weather hazards further out over the waters adjacent to the US for safe and efficient flight planning in offshore routes.

This presentation will describe the development of a deterministic aviation forecast that expands the current FAA 0-8 hour forecast to include the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Western Atlantic. The offshore forecast contains four primary components: an analysis, a numerical weather prediction model, an extrapolation of the analysis, and a merging of the extrapolation and numerical model. The analysis uses lightning, satellite, and numerical model output to create radar-like Vertically-Integrated Liquid (VIL) and Echo Top (ET) heights in offshore regions where there is an absence of radar data. This radar-like analysis is combined with VIL and ET from radar near the coast. The lightning data used in this effort is from the Earth Networks Global Lightning Network and the numerical model used is NOAA's 13 km Rapid Refresh (RAP) model. The VIL and ET analyses are extrapolated and merged with the RAP model to create offshore 0-8 hour forecasts. This presentation will describe the technique and present results from this effort to expand deterministic aviation forecasts for offshore air traffic management.