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Tactical 0-2 hour convective weather forecasts for FAA

Published in:
11th Conf. on Aviation, Range and Aerospace Meteorology, 4-8 October 2004.

Summary

Major airlines and FAA Traffic Flow Managers alike would prefer to plan their flight routes around convective weather and thereby avoid the tactical maneuvering that results when unforecasted thunderstorms occur. Strategic planning takes place daily and 2-6 hr forecasts are utilized, but these early plans remain unaltered in only the most predictable of convective weather scenarios. More typically, the ATC System Command Center and the Air Route Traffic Control Centers together with airline dispatchers will help flights to utilize jet routes that remain available within regions of convection, or facilitate major reroutes around convection, according to the available "playbook" routes. For this tactical routing in the presence of convective weather to work, both a precise and timely shared picture of current weather is required as well as an accurate, reliable short term (0-2 hr) forecast. This is crucial to containing the system-wide and airport-specific delays that are so prevalent in the summer months (Figure 1), especially as traffic demands approach full capacity at the pacing airports. This paper describes the Tactical 0-2 hr Convective Weather Forecast (CWF) algorithm developed by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory for the FAA, principally sponsored by the Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP). This CWF technology is currently being utilized in both the Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS; Wolfson et al., 2004) and the Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS; Evans et al., 2004) proof-of-concept demonstrations. Some of this technology is also being utilized in the National Convective Weather Forecast from the Aviation Weather Center (Megenhardt, 2004), the NCAR Autonowcaster (Saxen et al., 2004), and in various private-vendor forecast systems.
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Summary

Major airlines and FAA Traffic Flow Managers alike would prefer to plan their flight routes around convective weather and thereby avoid the tactical maneuvering that results when unforecasted thunderstorms occur. Strategic planning takes place daily and 2-6 hr forecasts are utilized, but these early plans remain unaltered in only the...

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An automated, operational two hour convective weather forecast for the Corridor Integrated Weather

Published in:
10th Conf. on Aviation, Range and Aerospace Meteorology, 13-16 May 2002, pp. 116-119.

Summary

The FAA Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) is an initiative of the Weather and Flight Service Systems Integrated Product Team, AUA400. One of the goals of the AWRP is to create accurate and accessible forecasts of hazardous weather tailored to the needs of the aviation community. Pursuant to this goal, the AWRP has sponsored the collaboration of the Research Applications Program (RAP) of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the Aviation and Forecast Research Divisions at the NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL), the Weather Sensing Group of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL) and the National Severe Storm Laboratory (NSSL) on a Product Development Team (PDT). This Convective Weather PDT is developing an automated system that combines real-time weather- radar data with the current "state-of-the-art" convective weather prediction algorithms to produce forecasts of convective weather for the heavily traveled air traffic routes in the Great Lakes/Northeast corridor (Chicago to New York). This Regional Convective Weather Forecast (RCWF) will be provided to traffic flow management decision-makers as part of the proof-of-concept Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS), which began operations in July 2001 with a l-hr animated Regional Convective Weather Forecast (RCWF).
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Summary

The FAA Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) is an initiative of the Weather and Flight Service Systems Integrated Product Team, AUA400. One of the goals of the AWRP is to create accurate and accessible forecasts of hazardous weather tailored to the needs of the aviation community. Pursuant to this goal...

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Forecasting convective weather using multi-scale detectors and weather Classification - enhancements to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Terminal Weather Forecast

Published in:
10th Conf. on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, 13-16 May 2002, pp. 132-135.

Summary

Over the past decade the United States has seen drastic increases in air traffic delays resulting in enormous economic loses. Analysis shows that more then 50% of air traffic delays are due to convective weather. In response the FAA has assembled scientific and engineering teams from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, NCAR. NSSL, FSL and several universities to develop convective weather forecast systems to aid air traffic managers in delay reduction. A user-needs study conducted by Lincoln Laboratory identified that a major source of air traffic delay was due to line thunderstorms (Forman et al., 1999). Recognizing that the line storm envelope motion was distinct from the local cell motion was the impetus for developing the Growth and Decay Storm Tracker' (Wolfson et al., 1999). The algorithm produces forecasts by extracting large-scale features from two dimensional precipitation images. These images are tracked, using either correlation techniques (Terminal Convective Weather Forecast or TCWF) or centroid techniques (National Convective Weather Forecast or NCWF). In TCWF, the track vector field is used to advect the current precipitation images formed to produce a series of forecasts into minute increments up to 60 minutes. The TCWF forecasts are highly skilled for large scale persistent line storms. However, detailed performance analysis of the algorithm has shown that in cases dominated by airmass storms, the algorithm occasionally performed poorly (Theriault et al., 2001). In this paper we describe the sources of error discovered in the TCWF algorithm during the Memphis 2000 performance evaluation, and describe recent enhancements designed to address these problems.
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Summary

Over the past decade the United States has seen drastic increases in air traffic delays resulting in enormous economic loses. Analysis shows that more then 50% of air traffic delays are due to convective weather. In response the FAA has assembled scientific and engineering teams from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, NCAR...

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TCWF algorithm assessment - Memphis 2000

Summary

This report describes a formal Assessment of the Terminal Convective Weather Forecast (TCWF) algorithm, developed under the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program by MIT Lincoln Laboratory as part of the Convective Weather Product Development Team (PDT). TCWF is proposed as a Pre-Planned Product Improvement (P3I) enhancement to the operational ITWS currently scheduled for deployment at major airports in 2002. The TCWF Assessment in Memphis, TN ran from 24 March to 30 September 2000. The performance of TCWF was excellent on the large scale, organized storm systems it was designed to predict, and the software was extremely stable during the Assessment. Small changes to the algorithm parameters were made as a result of the 2000 testing. The TCWF performance can be improved on airmass storms and on forecasting new growth and subsequent decay of large-scale storms. These are active areas of research for future ITWS P3I builds.
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Summary

This report describes a formal Assessment of the Terminal Convective Weather Forecast (TCWF) algorithm, developed under the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program by MIT Lincoln Laboratory as part of the Convective Weather Product Development Team (PDT). TCWF is proposed as a Pre-Planned Product Improvement (P3I) enhancement to the operational ITWS...

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The FAA Terminal Convective Weather Forecast product: scale separation filter optimization

Published in:
29th Int. Conf. on Radar Meteorology, 12-16 July 1999.

Summary

A large percentage of serious air traffic delay at major airports in the warm season is caused by convective weather. The FAA Convective Weather Product Development team (PDT) has developed a Terminal Convective Weather Forecast product (TCWF) that can account for short-term (out to 60 min) systematic growth and decay of thunderstorms. The team began work three years ago by evaluating air traffic user needs and requirements. We found that users were willing to trade off forecast accuracy for longer lead times, especially for air traffic management plans that were easy to implement or that incurred low risk (Forman, et al., 1999). The PDT was able to develop an operationally useful forecast product that has been demonstrated in Dallas, TX since March, 1998 (Hallowell, et al., 1999). Further improvements have been made, and testing is now taking place at both Dallas and Orlando, FL. This paper summarizes the basic algorithm methodology and presents quantitative results on optimization of the scale separation filter, which is an integral aspect of the forecast algorithm.
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Summary

A large percentage of serious air traffic delay at major airports in the warm season is caused by convective weather. The FAA Convective Weather Product Development team (PDT) has developed a Terminal Convective Weather Forecast product (TCWF) that can account for short-term (out to 60 min) systematic growth and decay...

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Aviation user needs for convective weather forecasts

Published in:
8th Conf. on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology (ARAM), 10-15 January 1999.

Summary

The prediction of convective weather is very important to aviation, since almost half of the serious delay at major airports in the warm season is caused by thunderstorms. The need for accurate 0-6 hr forecasts for NAS users has been the subject of extensive publications, forums, and advisory committees in the aviation weather community over the last several years (Wolfson, et al; 1997). The Convective Weather Product Development Team (PDT), a core team of scientists and engineers from NCAR, NSSL, and MIT LL, was formed in 1996 as part of the reorganization of the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program. The team is developing convective weather forecast algorithms that produce operationally useful products for both the terminal area and enroute airspace. The products are designed to meet specific users' air traffic planning and safety needs. Before major algorithm development began, PDT members visited terminal and enroute Air Traffic (AT) personnel and airline dispatchers to understand the forecast products that were currently available to them and their needs for a near future product. Also, in order to reach the pilot community, a pilot survey about existing convective weather information and how to improve it, was created and distributed at the OshKosh Fly-In in August of 1997. This needs assessment took advantage of interviewees that had extensively used state-of-the-art weather information products (ITWS) in an operational setting for years. Their requirements, based on personal experiences with operational products during convective weather events, were less stringent than those reported in the recent requirements document pertaining to ARTCC TMUs (Browne, et al; 1999). The results of these investigations were used in the creation of the DFW Terminal Convective Weather Forecast (TCWF) product and the National Convective Weather Forecast (NCWF) products that were demonstrated throughout the summer of 1998 (Hallowell, et al; 1999; Mueller, et al; 1999). These demonstrations also provided additional insight into user needs. In this paper we describe Air Traffic users and their specific responsibilities. We then summarize AT and airline needs based on interviews conducted in 1997 and 1998. Information on pilots' needs for convective weather information is presented at the end.
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Summary

The prediction of convective weather is very important to aviation, since almost half of the serious delay at major airports in the warm season is caused by thunderstorms. The need for accurate 0-6 hr forecasts for NAS users has been the subject of extensive publications, forums, and advisory committees in...

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The growth and decay storm tracker

Published in:
Proc. Eighth Conf. on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, 10-15 Jan. 1999, pp. 58-62.

Summary

An elliptical filter/tracker capable of accounting for systematic growth and delay, designated the Growth and Decay Storm Tracker, has been developed and tested. Its performance depends on the size and shape of the filter, the performance of the cross-correlation tracker, the time interval between successive scans, the forecast lead time, and the type of storm being tracked.
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Summary

An elliptical filter/tracker capable of accounting for systematic growth and delay, designated the Growth and Decay Storm Tracker, has been developed and tested. Its performance depends on the size and shape of the filter, the performance of the cross-correlation tracker, the time interval between successive scans, the forecast lead time...

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The Terminal Convective Weather Forecast demonstration at the DFW International Airport

Published in:
8th Conf. on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology (ARAM), 10-15 January 1999.

Summary

The FAA Convective Weather Product Development Team (PDT) is tasked with developing products for convective weather forecasts for aviation users. The overall product development is a collaborative effort between scientists from MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). As part of the PDT, MIT/LL is being funded to develop algorithms for accurately forecasting the location of strong precipitation in and around airport terminal areas. We began by consulting with air traffic personnel and commercial airline dispatchers to determine the needs of aviation users. Users indicated that convective weather, particularly line storms, caused the most consistent problems for managing air traffic. These storms are by far the major cause of aircraft delays and diversions. MIT/LL has already developed the Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) which combines a variety of near-airport sensors to provide a wide range of current weather information to aviation users. Raytheon is currently building the production ITWS system which will be deployed at 45 major airports by 2003. The initial capability ITWS already provides some convective weather predictive capabilities in the form of storm motion vectors and "Storm Extrapolated Positions" (SEP; leading edge of storm at 10 and 20 minutes). But ITWS users indicated a desire for enhanced forecasts which showed the full spatial extent of the weather, how the weather would change (grow or decay) and extended forecast time periods to at least out one hour. Our approach is to develop an algorithm which may be added as a future product improvement to the ITWS system. Previous attempts at producing forecasts have focused on convective initiation and building from short-term (20-30 min) cell forecasts. Our "reverse time" approach of attacking longer time scale (60 min) features first is an outgrowth of addressing user needs and the discovery of improved tracking techniques for large scale precipitation features. The "Growth and Decay Tracker" developed by MIT/LL (Wolfson et.al., 1999) allows us to generate accurate short and long term forecasts of large scale precipitation features. This paper details the Terminal Convective Weather Forecast (TCWF) demonstration ongoing at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) and discusses the underlying algorithm being developed.
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Summary

The FAA Convective Weather Product Development Team (PDT) is tasked with developing products for convective weather forecasts for aviation users. The overall product development is a collaborative effort between scientists from MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). As...

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The Memphis ITWS convective forecasting collaborative demonstration

Summary

Accurate, short-term forecasts of where thunderstorms will develop, move and decay allow for strategic traffic management in and around the aviation terminal and enroute airspace. Pre-planning to avoid adverse weather conditions provides safe, smooth and continuous air traffic flow and savings in both fuel cost and time. Wolfson, et. al ( 1997) describe the problem of convective weather forecasting for FAA applications. In 1995, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT-LL) and National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) scientists and engineers agreed to collaborate on the development of a convective weather forecasting algorithm for use in airport terminal areas. Each laboratory brings special strengths to the project. NCAR has been developing techniques for precise, short-term (0-60 minutes) forecasts of thunderstorm initiation, movement and dissipation for the FAA over the past ten years and has developed the Auto-Nowcaster software. MIT-LL has been developing real-time algorithms for the Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS), including techniques for storm tracking, gust front detection, and calculating storm growth and decay (as part of predicting microbursts) . NSSL has been working on the NEXRAD Storm Cell Identification and Tracking (SCIT) algorithm, and on understanding the predictive value of the storm cell information. Thus by using the latest research results and best techniques available at each laboratory, the collaborative effort will hopefully result in a superior convective weather forecasting algorithm. Our goal in the immediate future is to develop a joint algorithm that can be demonstrated to users of terminal weather information, so that the benefits of convective weather forecast information can be realized, and the remaining needs can be assessed. As a first effort in the collaboration, the laboratories fielded their individual algorithms at the Memphis ITWS site. This paper gives an overview of our collaborative experiment in Memphis, the system each laboratory operated, some preliminary analysis of our performance on one case, and our plans for the near future.
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Summary

Accurate, short-term forecasts of where thunderstorms will develop, move and decay allow for strategic traffic management in and around the aviation terminal and enroute airspace. Pre-planning to avoid adverse weather conditions provides safe, smooth and continuous air traffic flow and savings in both fuel cost and time. Wolfson, et. al...

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ITWS microburst prediction algorithm performance, capabilities, and limitations

Summary

Lincoln Laboratory, under funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Terminal Doppler Weather Radar program, has developed algorithms for automatically detecting microbursts. While microburst detection algorithms provide highly reliable warnings of microbursts. there still remains a period of time between microburst onset and pilot reaction during which aircraft are at risk. This latency is due to the time needed for the automated algorithms to operate on the radar data, for air traffic controllers to relay any warnings and for pilots to react to the warnings. Lincoln Laboratory research and development has yielded an algorithm for accurately predicting when microburst outflows will occur. The Microburst Prediction Algorithm is part of a suite of weather detection algorithms within the Integrated Terminal Weather System. This paper details the performance of the Microburst Prediction Algorithm over a wide range of geographical and climatological environments. The paper also discusses the full range of the Microburst Prediction Algorithm's capabilities and limitations in varied weather environments. This paper does not discuss the overall rationale for a prediction algorithm or the detailed methodology used to generate predictions.
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Summary

Lincoln Laboratory, under funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Terminal Doppler Weather Radar program, has developed algorithms for automatically detecting microbursts. While microburst detection algorithms provide highly reliable warnings of microbursts. there still remains a period of time between microburst onset and pilot reaction during which aircraft are at...

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