For purposes of flight planning and routing, it is necessary to provide accurate and useful forecasts of aviation weather hazards. This requires a combination of improved model guidance and development of algorithms to convert from atmospheric “state variables” (temperature, winds, pressure, humidity, precipitation types) predicted directly from a Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) model to “aviation impact variables” (turbulence, icing, convective storm development, cloud ceiling, and visibility). Except for a few products that can be generated from observations alone, the entire aviation weather enterprise depends upon analyses and forecasts that have resulted from the efforts of the Model Development and Enhancement (MD&E) Product Development Team (PDT) under FAA Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) support. These efforts have resulted in the generation, improvement, and maintenance of models running operationally at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). The goals, organizational structure, and accomplishments of the MD&E PDT are presented in this paper. The four-stage process whereby research advancements are eventually implemented into operations at NCEP, and the efforts of the MD&E PDT to entrain the other PDTs into the design, testing, evaluation, and execution phases of new modeling developments are also discussed. A concise history of model development supported by the AWRP, including ensemble model forecasting, and plans for improving model capabilities, including the assimilation of WSR-88D data, are presented.
This publication was presented at the following: