Forecast confidence measures for deterministic storm-scale aviation forecasts
February 5, 2014
Deterministic storm-scale weather forecasts, such as those generated from the FAA's 0-8 hour CoSPA system, are highly valuable to aviation traffic managers. They provide forecasted characteristics of storm structure, strength, orientation, and coverage that are very helpful for strategic planning purposes in the National Airspace System (NAS). However, these deterministic weather forecasts contain inherent uncertainty that varies with the general weather scenario at the forecast issue time, the predicted storm type, and the forecast time horizon. This uncertainty can cause large changes in the forecast from update to update, thereby eroding user confidence and ultimately reducing the forecast's effectiveness in the decision-making process. Deterministic forecasts generally lack objective measures of this uncertainty, making it very difficult for users of the forecast to know how much confidence to have in the forecast during their decision-making process. This presentation will describe a methodology to provide measures of confidence for deterministic storm-scale forecasts. The method inputs several characteristics of the current and historical weather forecasts, such as spatial scale, intensity, weather type, orientation, permeability, and run-to-run variability of the forecasts, into a statistical model to provide a measure of confidence in a forecasted quantity. In this work, the forecasted quantity is aircraft blockage associated with key high-impact Flow Constrained Areas (FCAs) in the NAS. The results from the method, which will also be presented, provide the user with a measure of forecast confidence in several blockage categories (none, low, medium, and high) associated with the FCAs. This measure of forecast confidence is geared toward helping en-route strategic planners in the NAS make better use of deterministic storm-scale weather forecasts for air traffic management.