1A.2 Convective Weather Forecasts and Applications for Aviation

Monday, 23 January 2017: 11:15 AM
Conference Center: Tahoma 3 (Washington State Convention Center )
Haig Iskenderian, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA; and M. S. Veillette, M. Matthews, J. Venuti, C. J. Mattioli, P. M. Lamey, E. P. Hassey, and R. Bass

Weather accounts for over 50% of the delays in the US National Airspace System (NAS), and convective weather accounts for 60% of these weather delays. Thunderstorms often contain hazards to aviation such as lightning, hail, turbulence, strong updrafts and strong downdrafts. To reduce the impacts of these hazards, air traffic managers use forecasts of convective weather to route aircraft and plan aviation operations around airspace in which aircraft cannot safely fly.

Convective weather forecasts for aviation are divided into two broad categories: those that provide a radar-forward forecast of convection (deterministic) and those that provide the likelihood of convection (probabilistic). This presentation will identify several deterministic and probabilistic convective weather forecasts commonly used in aviation and their applications to operations and planning. Details will be provided on the 0-8 hour deterministic convective forecast developed for the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as its value and uses in aviation. These radar-forward forecasts currently cover the CONUS, and are being expanded to offshore oceanic regions.

The deterministic and probabilistic forecasts used by air traffic managers are typically evaluated and compared visually, and then mentally integrated into their decisions. This type of weather integration increases their workload and introduces potential error from the subjective process. This presentation will describe the Traffic Flow Impact (TFI) capability to objectivity combine deterministic and probabilistic forecasts and translate them into a prediction of airspace availability and uncertainty in the prediction. The potential value of TFI to the aviation users in the NAS will be discussed.

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