Echo Top Forecast Generation and Evaluation of Air Traffic Flow Management Needs in the National Airspace System
Built in part upon established convective weather forecast (CWF) technology pioneered by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the ETF algorithm is a multi-scale storm tracking algorithm that takes into account measured storm growth and decay trends, weather classification, previous measured echo tops, and underlying models of storm top evolution. The ETF uses CWF storm motion tracks to identify the envelope motion of large scale storms and the cell motion of smaller, isolated cell regions. A significant component of the algorithm is its categorization of weather type (line, small or large isolated cell, stratiform, etc). By accounting for weather type heterogeneity, components of the ETF algorithm such as storm evolution trending and modeled storm height potential become more robust and predictions of echo top heights, locations, and areal coverage are improved.
The ETF product was introduced to the Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS) in May 2005. Since then, FAA traffic managers have utilized this unique product to develop improved convective weather impact mitigation plans, reduce airspace complexity, and improve inter/intra-facility coordination. As a result, the CIWS ETF product has assisted in reducing both air traffic delays and traffic management workload. A complete suite of ETF product applications, identified during the 2005 CIWS benefits assessment field campaign, will be presented.