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Weather

Eric Avila is the Article 114 Weather Representative.   

Background:  The Aviation Weather Display (AWD) will consolidate the Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) and Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS).  In addition, the AWD will also incorporate new weather products.  The AWD will primarily be a tool for traffic managers to use to evaluate weather impacts and plan initiatives.  ARTCC controllers will also have AWDs in their areas replacing the legacy WARP weather that is currently in the areas.  

The AWD Human Factors Work Group (HFWG) continues to work with the Raytheon technical writers to develop the Air Traffic Operators Manuel (ATOM).   The ATOM will be the basis for the training materials for the AWD.  The HFWG is meeting with Raytheon weekly to discuss the status of the ATOM with the writer. In between meetings, the HFWG reviews and provides feedback on the new portions of the ATOM to be disused at the weekly meeting.  

A Technical Exchange Meeting (TEM) was help between the FAA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Labs (MIT LL), and the United States Air Force (USAF).  A year ago, a similar TEM was held to discuss work MIT LL is working on for the USAF to develop the Global Synthetic Weather Radar (GSWR).  GSWR operates to provide weather radar where ground-based radar does not exist across the entire globe.  GSWR utilizes numerous satellites, weather radars, model data, etc. to produce a global synthetic radar.  MIT LL operates Offshore Prediction Capability (OPC) for portions of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to provide a similar product.  The TEM discussed potential synergy between the two systems to potentially help fill in some of the radar gaps that exists over land, particularly in the western United States.   

The Precipitation on the Glass team is on schedule and continues to research new potential weather radar sources for STARS.  The NATCA team has started to work with the group developing the second phase demonstration that will take place sometime in 2021.  The team is currently looking at potential weather events from various sites across the country to consider for the assessment.  Unlike the first assessment, the second assessment is planned to take the new potential radar sources and transfer the data into STARS presented in the same format.  Archived traffic from the events will also be presented on both the existing STARS display and STARS with the new weather source in order to complete a side-by-side comparison of both sources. 

The weather community of interest (COI) is a group that was formed to bring together various departments across the FAA that work on weather issues.  The COI’s goal is to keep everyone informed on projects, research, etc. and increase coordination between the parties.  This month’s meeting discussed the roles and responsibilities for aviation weather.  The FAA is of the official source for aviation weather and delegates most of this work to the National Weather Service to provide.  Additionally, the Special Weather Action Team (SWAT)’s reported high level updates of the smaller groups that are tackling the problem statements.     

The Weather Information Mitigation and Transition (WIMAT) discussed the results of the Safety Risk Management Panel on Graphical Airmen’s Meteorological Information (G-AIRMET)’s.  The WIMAT continues to discuss the impacts of the retirement of the text AIRMET as well as the pending Document Change Proposal that will impact how AIRMET’s are provided to controllers.  In 2023 the text area forecast for the Gulf of Mexico, Caribana, and Hawaii is scheduled to be retired.  The WIMAT continues to discuss the potential impacts as the graphical version will become the primary forecast for that region.  Another issue that will affect multiple FAA systems is the change from text weather products to information presented in an XML (Extensible Markup Language).  XML is not designed to be read by humans but is instead is designed to the read by computers and presented to the user.  Numerous programs across the FAA will have to plan for this change and the Program Management Organization is currently deterring which systems will be impacted and ensuring the systems are prepared for the change.   

The Weather Evaluation Team (WET) is a subgroup of the Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) team and is comprised of government and airline participants to discuss weather related issues.    The Marine Stratus Forecast System (MSFS) is a network of sensors that provide additional observation points around the Bay Area around the San Francisco airport.  The equipment that makes up the MSFS is in need of repair and the FAA is currently working with the NWS to update the system and keep it operating.  The FAA has begun to interview users of the MSFS to gather feedback to support and incorporate into the updated system.  Early next year, the team will contact controllers from various facilities that work traffic into San Francisco to determine what systems they currently use to determine the flow rates.    

Jaymi Steinberg (ZDC) and I are developing an icing refresher training for the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Association (IFACTA) Technical and Operations Committee.  The volcanic ash refresher training is now available online and we are currently finishing an icing refresher course.  

Upcoming Activities: 

  • Check-in with FAA management (weekly) 
  • HFWG telcons (weekly) 
  • Terminal Precipitation on the Glass (weekly)  
  • AWD Training Team Meeting (bi-weekly)  
  • WARP telecons (bi-weekly)  
  • Air Traffic and Next Gen Weather meeting (bi-weekly)  
  • Weather Information Mitigation and Transition (monthly) 
  • NextGen Weather Coordination Meeting (monthly) 
  • Weather Evaluation Team (monthly) 
  • Community of Interest (monthly) 
  • Special Weather Action Team (weekly) 
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