820 Overview of the 2015 Aviation Weather Testbed Summer Experiment

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Steven A. Lack, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Aviation Weather Center, Kansas City, MO; and B. R. J. Schwedler, A. Cross, A. M. Terborg, A. R. Harless, B. P. Pettegrew, S. Silberberg, R. L. Solomon, and C. B. Entwistle

The 2015 Aviation Weather Testbed (AWT) Summer Experiment was held at the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) in Kansas City, MO cooperatively with the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ over two weeks from 10 August 2015 until 21 August 2015. The major foci of this experiment included cloud and visibility gridded forecast creation, improvements to the Collaborative Aviation Weather Statement (CAWS), new forecasting techniques over the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, and verification techniques for aviation forecasts.

Cloud and visibility impacts flight operations throughout the year, with aviation impacts ranging from accidents to significant National Airspace System (NAS) delays. The cloud and visibility portion of the experiment focused on assessing the ability of creating gridded cloud and visibility products by using a variety of model data in the AWIPS2 Graphical Forecast Editor. The grids created over the conterminous U.S. would potentially be used to drive local forecasts of cloud and visibility at the National Weather Serivce Weather Forecast Offices. Use of these grids would improve consistency between locally produced products such as the TAF and larger scale forecasts such as the Area Forecast (FA) and graphical AIRMETs.

The convective portion of the experiment focused on improving the CAWS process incorporating findings from the FAA Technical Center. The primary goal is producing CAWS that have focused impacts to a specific area instead of creating similar areas to the Experiment CDM Convective Forecast Planning (CCFP) guidance. This means leveraging the best forecasting practices using the highest resolution forecast models. The resultant experimental CAWS issued during AWT were compared against operational CAWS during this time. The end result is enhanced training surrounding the CAWS process.

Finally, graphical forecasts over the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea were tested as a potential way forward away from the text-based Area Forecast (FA). In addition, several verification studies both quantitative and qualitative were performed on the experimental guidance issued in all parts of the experiment.

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