2.1 Impact-based Decision Support Services TAF Rating (I-TAF Rating) Application for the National Weather Service

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 10:30 AM
Room 344 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Joseph Facundo, Herndon, VA; and L. Laughlin, S. Rasheeth, and G. Stark

CyberData Technologies has developed an Impact-based Decision Support Services TAF Rating (I-TAF Rating) Application for the National Weather Service (NWS). Our understanding of the FAA's Traffic Flow Management (TFM) is centered around the FAA's Order JO 7210.3Y (April 2014) and Traffic Flow Management in the National Airspace System (October 2009). The FAA uses different Traffic Management Initiatives (TMI) to mitigate a variety of aviation impacts preventing the free flow of airport operations which are then applied as appropriate. For example, holding aircraft on the ground may have a positive set of consequences (i.e., safety) as well as a negative set of consequences (i.e., fuel consumption) along with consumer reactions towards delays. The NWS contracted with CyberData to develop a web-based application assessing one component of the various impacts, namely weather-related ones, by evaluating NWS terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAF) with hourly observations, i.e., METARs, and rate how well they matched up. The goal here was to determine the degree of "agreement” between the forecast and observations covering a 24-hour period starting at 06-GMT. The application calculates a rating applied hourly based on an algorithmic approach, which will be discussed during the presentation. Then the ratings are correlated to various types of aviation impacts, e.g., diversions, cancellations, and aircraft go-arounds, throughout the same period. These are produced for the previous day's operations at the Core-30 airports having the highest levels of activity.

CyberData, working closely with NWS aviation meteorology experts, agreed to a set of requirements bringing together data from three separate sources and developing the rating algorithm assessing the degree of agreement between the forecast and observations. CyberData developed an algorithm called the TAF-IR Analyzer using the NWS National Directives System Instruction 10-813 as the baseline for the meteorological parameters to be assessed and then bringing the various elements into a logical decision-support application. TAFs are evaluated over a 24-hr period including its Amendments, FM, TEMPO, and PROB30 components. Airport impacts are displayed for 6 categories as well as the details of the TAF/METAR comparisons along with hourly ratings providing a detailed picture of the relationship between the reported impacts and the TAF rating. This table-based technique will also allow for easy modification by NWS in the future.

The website will become an important application for the NWS by assessing their aviation decision support service performance, and comparing forecast quality during significant operational TMI traffic flow impact periods. A similar approach can be applied to other weather forecast processes also providing needed insight into the effectiveness of NWS products toward its service mission.  

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