Shadow TAFs: The Road to Point-and-Click TAFs (344)

Grant Hicks, National Weather Service, Glasgow, MT



One of the components of the Roadmap in Weather Ready Nation is for National Weather Service (NWS) to evolve with its service, and that the &ldquoNWS must become more agile, open, and flexible to achieve its mission to meet society's changing needs.&rdquo Partners in aviation are rapidly demanding new forecast information for locations beyond legacy Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) sites. This is a service the NWS currently does not provide. To serve this rapidly developing aviation customer base, the NWS must evolve into a new paradigm where aviation forecasts are available at any location. The time has finally come to begin integrating this new paradigm into operations by producing automated TAFs for airfields beyond the legacy TAF services. The Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE) used at every NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO), can be quickly configured to incorporate visibility, cloud base, and ceiling data sets. Since GFE is a dynamic spatial and temporal digital editing system, Digital Aviation Services (DAS) can currently be provided through GFE, for any airfield or location. Toward this end, NWS WFO Glasgow, Montana has partnered with a northeast Montana Air Ambulance partner, which provides life-saving service across much of eastern Montana, at airfields beyond the legacy TAF sites. This partnership is to test and provide a proof-of-concept for experimental Shadow TAFs. There are also future partnerships with other federal agencies that could utilize this forecasting tool that NWS Glasgow is working towards connecting with as NWS Glasgow and other offices begin to showcase operational use of DAS and partner demand for Shadow TAFs. The hope is to form a national effort to create user-defined on-demand gridded TAFs for any place within the United States from these new data sets in the form of Point-and-Click TAFs.