Implementing New Weather Satellite Data into Operational Aviation Products and Decisions (93)

Randy Bass, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC



Imagery and data from new geostationary and polar weather satellites such as GOES-R, Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Himawari are game-changers for weather observing and forecasting throughout many industries. Aviation is no exception and the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) is conducting research on incorporating these new data sets into future products, services and decision support systems. AWRP funds and manages a variety of research programs related to convection, turbulence, in-flight icing, ceiling and visibility, wind, and other phenomena that impact aviation safety and efficiency. Candidate algorithms and products resulting from this research undergo a rigorous quality assessment to determine meteorological accuracy and a comprehensive user evaluation process to measure operational effectiveness. Only successful projects are transitioned to formal operational status for use by air traffic controllers, planners and other decision makers.

Center Weather Service Unit forecasters at FAA air traffic control facilities as well as National Aviation Meteorologists at the FAA's Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Warrenton, VA have already incorporated GOES-R imagery into their operational forecasting processes. The high spatial and temporal resolution of the imagery has resulted in several instances where forecasts were altered and decisions were made that increased air traffic control efficiencies.

This presentation will highlight and describe some of the projects AWRP is managing on incorporating next-generation imagery and data into future operational products. Examples may include using new GOES-R imagery bands in the Offshore Precipitation Capability and using polar satellite data in our cloud ceiling and visibility tools for Alaska. An example of a situation where new geostationary satellite data was used for operational decision making will also be presented. The benefit to these products and the implications for aviation will be discussed, as well as societal benefits for pilots, passengers and potentially the general public.