Update on COSPA storm forecasts
August 2, 2011
Air traffic congestion in the United States (US) is a serious national problem resulting in a critical need for timely, reliable and high quality forecasts of precipitation and echo tops with forecast time horizons of up to 8 hours. In order to address the short-term needs of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as the long-term goals of the US's Next Generation Airspace System (NextGen), MIT Lincoln Laboratory, NCAR Research Applications Laboratory and NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory (ESRL) Global Systems Division (GSD) are collaborating on developing a forecast system under funding from the FAA's Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP). The CoSPA system combines the latest technologies in heuristic nowcasting, extrapolation, statistical techniques and numerical weather prediction to produce rapidly updating (15 min) 0-8 hour forecasts of storm locations, echo tops and intensities. The system blends highly-skillful heuristic nowcasts with output from NOAA's High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) using phase correction and statistical weighting functions. The CoSPA 0-8 hour forecasts are accessible to the aviation community via an operational situation display and a website that builds upon the FAA's Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS) and shows current time situational awareness products including: VIL, echo tops, lightning, growth and decay, forecasts and verification contours, as well as an animation of the weather from 8 hours in the past to 8 hours into the future. This presentation will include a brief description of the CoSPA forecast system and display, examples of forecast performance, and provide an overview of recent enhancements to CoSPA as well as ongoing research.