Quantifying airport terminal area weather surveillance requirements
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Terminal Area Surveillance System (TASS) research, engineering, and development program was initiated in part to address future weather sensing needs in the terminal area. By the early 21st century, planned systems such as the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) and Airport Surveillance Radar-9 (ASR-9) will be well into their designed life cycles. Any new terminal weather surveillance system should be designed to address existing deficiencies. Key unmet weather sensing needs include detections of: true 3-dimensional winds (vs. radial component), winds in the absence of precipitation, wake vortices, total lightning, hail, icing conditions, clear air turbulence, hazardous weather cells (with adequate time and space resolution), cloud cover and cloud bases (including layers), fog, and visibility (Runway Visual Range), as well as predictions of: the atmospheric conditions mentioned above, wind shifts, microbursts, tornadoes, and snow/rainfall rates (Evans 1991a, McCarthy 1991). In this paper, we investigate the premise that hazardous weather cells are not currently being measured with adequate time and space resolution in the terminal area. Since a new surveillance system should be based on knowledge of storm dynamics, we have performed a preliminary study of update rate (using rapid scan radar to detect rapidly developing thunderstorms and precursors to the low altitude hazards such as microbursts that they produce. Other aspects of a future radar system such as multi-parameter techniques required to discriminate between ice and water phase precipitation, etc. are not considered.