The FAA Aviation Weather Research Program's Quality Assessment Product Development Team

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Monday, 30 January 2006
The FAA Aviation Weather Research Program's Quality Assessment Product Development Team
Exhibit Hall A2 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Jennifer Mahoney, NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory, Boulder, CO; and B. G. Brown

The Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Weather Research Program ( FAA AWRP) sponsors research and development aimed at improving the weather information provided to air traffic control systems, pilots, aviation forecasters, and other aviation weather users. The major areas of weather product development include in-flight icing, turbulence, ceiling and visibility, and convection for national and oceanic domains. With National Weather Service (NWS) participation, the AWRP supports the transition of many of these newly-developed and advanced aviation weather products to NWS operations.

To ensure that the newly-developed aviation weather products are of the highest quality and provide a consistent or improved level of forecast accuracy, when compared to the current operational weather forecast products, the AWRP formed the Quality Assessment Product Development Team (QA PDT). One of the main responsibilities of the QA PDT is to independently assess the forecast quality of aviation weather products that are intended to transition to NWS operations. For example, extensive assessments of forecast quality have been completed by the QA PDT for a variety of products, including the Graphical Turbulence Guidance (GTG), Current and Forecast Icing Potential (CIP/FIP), the National Convective Weather Forecast (NCWF), the National Ceiling and Visibility Analysis (NCV-analysis), and others. The assessment information has been used to conclude whether the weather products met FAA and NWS forecast accuracy requirements for transition to operations.

In addition to this assessment function, the QA PDT leads the field in developing verification techniques that are specific to aviation weather forecasts. For instance, many of the aviation forecasts are textual in nature and often lack adequate observations for evaluation. As a result, accepted verification techniques and methodologies frequently must be significantly modified or developed for aviation weather forecast assessments to address these short-comings.

Finally, the PDT develops and implements, operationally, verification systems that allow users easy access to the verification results.

The paper and presentation will describe the role and responsibilities of the QA PDT within the AWRP, the accomplishments to date, current activities, and plans for the future.