Convective weather forecasting for FAA applications
The Convective Weather Product Development Team (PDT) was formed in 1996 as part of the reorganization of the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program, to provide an effective way to conduct critical applied research in a collaborative and rational fashion. Detecting and predicting convective weather is extremely important to aviation, since approximately half of the national airspace delay in the warm season is caused by thunderstorms. Reliable 0--6 hr storm predictions are essential for aviation users to achieve safe and efficient use of the airspace, as well as for future air traffic control automation systems. Our goal on this PDT is to direct our research and development activities toward operationally useful convective weather detection and forecast products, and delivery of those products, so that users can receive benefits on an immediate and continual basis. Given that we have many more initiatives than funding, we have chosen to prioritize our activities according to near-term achievable benefits to users. Our hope is that the success of initial planned demonstrations will help the FAA identify a consistent level of long-term R&D funding, so that we can make real progress towards achieving our full set of goals. In this paper, we present our statement of the FAA Convective Weather Forecasting problem, evidence of the need for forecasts in the National Airspace System (NAS), and an illustration of the air traffic delay caused by convective weather. We then discuss our research plan and rationale, and outline our main initiatives for the upcoming year.