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