Consolidated Storm Prediction for Aviation (CoSPA)

CoSPA logoWeather research funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) has led to many competing and redundant aviation weather forecasts from a number of government and private organizations. Mandates from the federal government to reduce duplication and streamline research efforts have stimulated a need to combine the best capabilities from the weather community into one cohesive system. Furthermore, the natural variations and inconsistencies of these weather products has led to confusion in critical air traffic management (ATM) situations. As a result, the Consolidated Storm Prediction for Aviation (CoSPA) program was established by the FAA’s Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) in order to integrate these experimental systems into one high-quality expert system.

Collaborative Effort

CoSPA is a collaborative effort between the FAA, MIT, NCAR, NOAA, NWS, NASA, DoD, universities and private organizations whose aim is to integrate and evaluate existing prototype products such as Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS), Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS), Collaborative Convective Forecast Product (CCFP), Convective SIGMETS, Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP), AutoNowcaster, and National Convective Weather Forecast (NCWF) (see Figure 1).

t Memphis tornadic storms on 10 November 2002, 6 p.m. EST. (Photo: Tim Rotz, Northwest Airlines)

CoSPA Objectives

Our near-term goal (Figure 2) is to provide 0–2 hr tactical CIWS weather forecasts blended with high-resolution numerical forecasts of convective storms out to 6 hours (e.g., 3 km spatial resolution updating every hour).

Long-term objectives (2018) are to provide blended forecasts out to 12 hours that are integrated into automated ATM decision support systems.

Open Software Architecture Design

CoSPA’s design methodology is to use feedback from operational users in defining and prioritizing needs and requirements. An extensible open software architecture is being designed so that new and updated modules can be dropped in on a regular basis. Modules are contributed by several organizations and then integrated into processing units according to the latest industry design and coding standards. This is to ensure an efficient, maintainable, and robust system. Nationwide integrated sensors including radar, satellite, lightning, surface observations and aircraft are being utilized. Weather products are constructed from the fusing of this data and used in displays, automated tools or other derived products. Data products will be transmitted using the NextGen Network Enabled Weather (NNEW) web services currently being developed by the FAA. CoSPA concepts and goals are in line with the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), which is targeted for 2025.

top of page