Description of the Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS) weather products
August 1, 2005
Improved handling of severe en route and terminal convective weather has been identified by the FAA in both the Operational Evolution Plan (OEP) (FAA, 2002) and the Flight Plan for 2004-2008 (FAA, 2003) as a major thrust over the coming decade for the National Airspace System (NAS) modernization. Achieving such improved capabilities is particularly important in highly congested corridors where there is both a high density of over flights and major terminals. Delay increases during thunderstorm season have been the principal cause of the dramatic delay growth in the US aviation system. When major terminals also underlie the en route airspace, convective weather has even greater adverse impacts, especially if the convective weather occurs frequently. In response to the need to enhance both safety and capacity during adverse weather, the FAA is exploring the concept of a Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS). CIWS is designed to improve convective weather decision support for congested en route airspace (and the terminals that lie under that airspace) by automatically generating graphical depictions of the current severe weather situation and providing frequently updated forecasts of the future weather locations for forecast times from zero to two hours. An operational demonstration of the CIWS was conducted during the summer of 2003. This document provides a detailed description of each CIWS weather information product as it was demonstrated in 2003, including a general description of the product, what data sources are used by the product, how the product is generated from the input data, and what caveats in the technical performance apply. A discussion of how the products might be used to enhance safety and support decision-making for traffic management is also included. Detailed information on the operational benefits of the CIWS products demonstrated in 2003 is provided in a companion report (Robinson et al., 2004). Improvements made to the products for the 2004 and 2005 CIWS operational demonstrations are briefly discussed in the final chapter.