Fiscal Year 1995

FSL in Review

Aviation Gridded Forecast System Branch

Review Division Page
Division Personnel Review Homepage

Lynn A. Sherretz , Chief


The Aviation Gridded Forecast System (AGFS) Branch manages the generation and distribution of high-resolution aviation-impact variables (AIVs) and the development of graphics tools required to tailor products for aviation decisionmakers. Air traffic controllers and traffic flow managers will be able to use AIVs such as icing, turbulence, cloud ceilings, and visibility to support safety and efficiency in the national airspace system. Since most AIVs are not a direct output of numerical weather prediction models, they are calculated from state-of-the-atmosphere variables (SAVs) such as temperature and moisture using a translation process.


The AGFS capabilities are being distributed in real time to the Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) in the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center, located in Longmont, Colorado. Development of graphic tools for use at the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) in Kansas City, Missouri, enables NWS aviation weather forecasters to interact with high-resolution SAVs, AIVs, and observations.

The meteorological workstation at the Denver CWSU is used to define products and functions that will support CWSUs during the AGFS era. CWSU forecasters use these products in their role as partners in air traffic control and traffic management decisionmaking. To assist FSL developers in understanding the needs of aviation forecasters, a meteorologist within the branch has been trained and certified in CWSU operations.

In close collaboration with the AWC staff, preliminary AIV editing tools have been developed so that NWS forecasters can add value to AIVs for icing potential. (Figure 25 shows a screen from the AIV editor of a three-dimensional distribution of icing potential for 1200 UTC 10 April 1995.) Forecasters can use these tools to interactively change the threshold values of an icing algorithm-generated AIV. Up-to-the-minute pilot reports of icing observations and satellite data of cloud patterns are used to facilitate the editing process.

Figure 25. Screen from the Aviation Gridded Forecast System showing the AIV editor volume display of icing potential over the central United States for 1200 UTC 10 April 1995. The view is northward and depicts the three-dimensional structure of icing potential (in shades of pink) as well as model-represented terrain, with the vertical scale greatly exaggerated. The red areas represent the selected flight level.


Next year, the AGFS Branch staff will focus on developing AIV viewing and editing tools that will enable AWC forecasters to add value to icing and turbulence grids. These grids will support "free flight" and be used to generate accurate and timely warnings and forecasts. Work will also begin to develop tools to view and edit analyses and forecasts of clouds. The utility of these tools will depend on the ability of models to generate accurate forecasts of clouds.

Maintained by: Wilfred von Dauster