14th Symp on Education
21st International Conference on Interactive Information Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology


Managing the infrastructure of a 21st century meteorological service: Systems Engineering, Management and Sustainment (SEMS) and the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA)- A government/private sector partnership

Richard S. Penc, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Bellevue, NE; and F. VanWijngaarden, A. E. Ronn, and M. Bannister

Generation and delivery of weather products for military applications and users has taken on ever increasing complexity in light of continual developments in the field of meteorology, and increasingly complex user needs. Operational fine scale numerical weather prediction models, new satellite based sensors, global requirements and operational demands have increased the demands on processing power and bandwidth. This trend will accelerate with new generation mesoscale modeling systems, sensor systems, and derived products from next generation geostationary and polar orbiting satellites. New weapon systems are highly weather dependent and produce an increased demand for highly tailored weather products.

The Systems Engineering, Management and Sustainment (SEMS) program provides systems support for the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA), the strategic center for weather for the U.S. Air Force and supplies all weather-related information to the Air Force, Army, and many federal agencies. AFWA provides meteorological analysis and forecast support to Army and Air Force units worldwide, supports weather forecasting and severe weather prediction by civilian agencies, and participates extensively in the meteorological community’s advanced weather research. AFWA is the largest supplier of weather data for military users worldwide in supporting front line combat operations and mission support, mission planning, and routine flight operations support.

As the prime contractor on the SEMS project, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (NGMS) has the responsibility for AFWA systems including the Global Theater Weather Analysis and Prediction System (GTWAPS), Satellite Data Handling System (SDHS), the Joint Air Force & Army Weather Information Network (JAAWIN), the Space Weather Analysis and Forecast System (SWAFS) and Cloud Depiction and Forecast System II (CDFS-II). SEMS provides integration, sustainment and engineering support for these enclaves, providing an integrated depiction of global weather from earth’s surface out to space, and from data collection to product dissemination. Presently, over 92 GB of weather products are generated per day, with almost 60 GB of satellite imagery being collected and processed from over 10 satellites. Nearly 10,000 surface and over 3500 upper air observations are assimilated, processed into the database, and shared among enclaves. SEMS supports systems that cover all five key functions of a modern meteorological service including ingest, analysis, forecast, product tailoring and dissemination.

This paper describes the current state of support provided to AFWA under SEMS, providing an overview of the enterprise. The overview will take the perspective of systems management and examine aspects of systems engineering needed to maintain and advance the state of art of and enhance complete global, military weather support.

Currently, we are planning for the next series of meteorological satellites including Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), NPOESS and GOES-R. While MSG has been successfully integrated into our enterprise, NPOESS and GOES-R have been the subject of engineering studies to determine the impacts on and need for future information systems, as well as employing these new data sources to derive novel products for the operational community. In addition, within the current calendar year, we will be transitioning from the current MM5 mesoscale model, to the state-of-the-art Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. Our progress on these endeavors will be described. The paper will also describe the relationships between the various numerical modeling components resident at AFWA, including the integration of the space weather component into the “environmental data cube”, providing “mud to sun” support for warfighters around the globe, and for mission planning.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (1.2M)

Joint Session 7, Cyberinfrastructure to support atmospheric and Oceanic Education: Examples and strategies (Joint with 21IIPS and Education)
Tuesday, 11 January 2005, 1:30 PM-5:30 PM

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