757 Satellite Data Applications for Offshore Aviation Weather

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Haig Iskenderian, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA; and M. S. Veillette, C. J. Mattioli, P. M. Lamey, E. P. Hassey, J. R. Mecikalski, G. T. Stano, and R. Bass

Handout (4.5 MB)

Convective weather can have a large and adverse effect on aviation. Air traffic controllers require an accurate radar depiction of the convective storm location and intensity so they may safely route aircraft around convective hazards. Air traffic managers, who are concerned with longer-term planning, require accurate radar-forward forecasts of storm location and intensity so that they may account for the future loss of airspace due to weather. Within the CONUS, real-time radar-based convective weather analysis and radar-forward forecast systems are available for air traffic controllers and air traffic managers. These systems require land-based NEXRAD radar coverage, and as such, air traffic controllers and managers do not have access to any system that provides accurate and timely radar-like precipitation estimates in offshore regions beyond radar range.

The lack of aviation weather information over the ocean has motivated the development of the Offshore Precipitation Capability (OPC), which uses a machine learning framework to fuse data from the five satellite channels on the current GOES, global lightning data from the ground-based Earth Network's Total Lightning Network, and several fields from NOAA's Rapid Refresh (RAP) 13 km numerical weather prediction model to create near-real-time radar-like precipitation intensity and echo top heights analyses over the ocean beyond the range of weather radar. OPC output is blended with existing NEXRAD radar mosaics to create a seamless weather radar-like analysis of aviation impacting weather for the benefit of offshore air traffic control.

Since the OPC is designed to operate over the data-sparse oceanic regions, satellite measurements are critical for development and validation of the capability. MIT Lincoln Laboratory currently uses data from the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar and the Microwave Imager (GMI) in capability development and validation, and is researching methods to add products from Suomi NPP, NASA A-Train, and NOAA 18/19 satellites. In preparation for the GOES-R era, we are also exploring the use of cloud property fields from the GOES-R Algorithm Working Group Cloud Height Algorithm (ACHA), and Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) proxy data from NASA's Pseudo Geostationary Lightning Mapper (PGLM) dataset. This presentation will describe the use and benefits of these datasets to the OPC capability as they relate to providing improved situational awareness and forecasts for offshore air traffic control and management.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner