2.1 The Federal Aviation Administration's Convective Weather Research Program

Monday, 23 January 2017: 1:30 PM
Conference Center: Skagit 2 (Washington State Convention Center )
Randall Bass, FAA, Washington, DC

Handout (1.9 MB)

Convective storms cause a significant problem in the National Airspace System (NAS) by contributing to delays and reducing safety and efficiency.  Furthermore, hazardous weather conditions can be undetectable to the controller in offshore sectors with diminished or no NEXRAD coverage.  Over 22 million square miles of offshore airspace controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have no weather radar coverage.  The Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) – Convective Weather Research Program seeks to address these problems by: 1) exploring how thunderstorm information is used to make decisions and assessing the need for improved information; 2) increasing the fundamental understanding of how thunderstorms form, behave, and impact the NAS; and 3) developing advanced thunderstorm analysis and predictive capabilities.  The overall goal is to ensure that convective weather algorithms, products or methods developed through the research program are scientifically accurate, provide value in terms of forecast worth to the individual decision-maker within their operational aviation decision processes, and can be transitioned to appropriate FAA or National Weather Service (NWS) systems.

 The Convective Weather Research Program funds and manages a variety of research projects related to convection offshore, probabilistic forecasts of thunderstorms for transoceanic flights, airport ramp closures due to lightning and the impacts on aviation safety and efficiency, and other impacts to aviation from thunderstorms.  Candidate algorithms and products resulting from this research undergo a rigorous quality assessment to determine meteorological accuracy and a comprehensive user evaluation process to measure operational effectiveness.  Only successful projects are transitioned to formal operational status for use by air traffic controllers, planners and other decision makers.       

This presentation will describe the Convective Weather Research Program, its purpose and benefits to the FAA and air traffic operations, highlights of current projects and past successes, outreach activities, and the close collaboration with the FAA’s Program Management Office and the NWS.

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