8.2 Cloud and Visibility Guidance Research in the Aviation Weather Testbed

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 10:45 AM
Conference Center: Skagit 2 (Washington State Convention Center )
Benjamin R. J. Schwedler, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Aviation Weather Center & CIRA, Kansas City, MO; and S. A. Lack and A. Cross

Several entities within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been engaged in a coordinated effort to improve cloud and visibility (C&V) forecasts and analysis over the last 2 years.  These efforts include improved use of observations and subsequent analyses, updates to numerical weather prediction models, post-processing algorithm development, and meteorologist-over-the-loop forecast techniques.  

The NOAA Aviation Weather Testbed (AWT) is a primary link for Research to Operations (R2O) efforts in all areas of C&V research and forecast improvement.  While the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) produces operational forecasts for C&V hazards, including Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions and mountain obscuration, other operational NWS entities produce forecasts for C&V hazard such as TAFs and dense fog advisories.  Producing a consistent set of forecasts across the entire NWS requires improved guidance and modified forecast processes.  The AWT is partnering with the NWS Environmental Modeling Center, the Meteorological Development Lab, and the NOAA Global Systems division to make improvements to systems producing analyses and forecasts for C&V hazards.  Improvement to consistent deterministic and probabilistic forecasts are needed to support a national common operating picture (COP).  Some of the recent work has focused on leveraging information that can be ascertained from a full 3D model cloud fraction and techniques to combine multiple deterministic solutions into a single COP.  The goal of these improved fields is to feed into the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) to support the issuance of a consistent suite of products across the entire NWS.  In addition to research to improve guidance fields, the AWT is collaborating with the NWS Operations Proving Ground (OPG) to examine best practices and rules of engagement to support a collaborative forecast process between the AWC and local forecast office.  Results of the research into improved guidance fields and the use of this guidance in the AWT/OPG collaborations will be presented.

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