1193 Overview of the Aviation Weather Testbed 2017 Summer Experiment

Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Steven A. Lack, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Aviation Weather Center, Kansas City, MO; and A. Cross, K. J. Runk, and S. Alvidrez

The 2017 Summer Experiment was a coordinated effort between the Aviation Weather Testbed (AWT), the Operations Proving Ground (OPG), and the FAA’s Aviation Weather Demonstration and Evaluation services group to advance the end-to-end aspects of aviation weather forecasting. The experiment had two major thrusts: convective forecast improvements for traffic flow management (TFM) and cloud and visibility improvements that impact flight operations.

Convective forecast improvements involved applying new guidance and new forecast procedures to explore advancing the AWC’s TFM Convective Forecast (TCF) product. Two automated first-guess solutions were evaluated with forecast lead times extending to 30 hours. These longer lead time forecasts were used as input to provide a forecaster edited extended TCF forecast to support next day planning by traffic flow managers in addition to the 4,6,8-h standard TCF package. The resultant forecasts were evaluated by the FAA AWDE group from a TFM perspective.

Cloud and visibility improvements have long been a part of recent AWT experiments. In particular, a focus is placed on creating a national cloud and visibility product to serve as a common operation picture for all stakeholders. This involves a simulation of the potential collaboration between AWC and Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). Forecast grid editing was tested using the AWIPS Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE) on a national scale within the AWT. Subsequent passing of these grids to the OPG for local manipulation simulated a collaborative forecast process between a national service center and a small cluster of adjacent WFOs. In this simulation, the final grids were considered the common operating picture for cloud and visibility, from which all NWS products and services could be informed. For this experiment, simulated WFOs used the final grids to draft Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs). Both resultant TAFs and final grids were evaluated by AWDE to assess the information presented from an end user perspective. End user evaluations at AWDE were also performed for probabilistic cloud and visibility forecasts provided by the AWC. This allowed for direct feedback on how pilots or other aviation entities use probabilistic information in their decision making process. Finally, high-resolution models, including a 330-m UK Met Office model, were evaluated for providing increased skill for cloud clearing times impacting San Francisco International Airport (SFO) flight operations. This paper will highlight the concepts of the experiment and some of the preliminary findings of this work.

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