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Development of a Probabilistic Convective Weather Forecast Threshold Parameter for Flight-Routing Decisions

Kapil ShethNASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

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Thomas AmisNational Weather Service, Fort Worth, Texas

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Sebastian Gutierrez-NolascoUniversity of California, Santa Cruz, Moffett Field, California

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Banavar SridharNASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

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Daniel MulfingerNASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

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Abstract

This paper presents a method for determining a threshold value of probabilistic convective weather forecast data. By synchronizing air traffic data and an experimental probabilistic convective weather forecast product, it was observed that aircraft avoid areas of specific forecasted probability. Both intensity and echo top of the forecasted weather were synchronized with air traffic data to derive the probability threshold parameter. This value can be used by dispatchers for flight planning and by air traffic managers to reroute streams of aircraft around convective cells. The main contribution of this paper is to provide a method to compute the probability threshold parameters using a specific experimental probabilistic convective forecast product providing hourly guidance up to 6 h. Air traffic and weather data for a 4-month period during the summer of 2007 were used to compute the parameters for the continental United States. The results are shown for different altitudes, times of day, aircraft types, and airspace users. Threshold values for each of the 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers were also computed. Additional details are presented for seven high-altitude sectors in the Fort Worth, Texas, center. For the analysis reported here, flight intent was not considered and no assessment of flight deviation was conducted since only aircraft tracks were used.

Corresponding author address: Kapil Sheth, NASA Ames Research Center, MS 210-15, Moffett Field, CA 94035. E-mail: kapil.sheth@nasa.gov

Abstract

This paper presents a method for determining a threshold value of probabilistic convective weather forecast data. By synchronizing air traffic data and an experimental probabilistic convective weather forecast product, it was observed that aircraft avoid areas of specific forecasted probability. Both intensity and echo top of the forecasted weather were synchronized with air traffic data to derive the probability threshold parameter. This value can be used by dispatchers for flight planning and by air traffic managers to reroute streams of aircraft around convective cells. The main contribution of this paper is to provide a method to compute the probability threshold parameters using a specific experimental probabilistic convective forecast product providing hourly guidance up to 6 h. Air traffic and weather data for a 4-month period during the summer of 2007 were used to compute the parameters for the continental United States. The results are shown for different altitudes, times of day, aircraft types, and airspace users. Threshold values for each of the 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers were also computed. Additional details are presented for seven high-altitude sectors in the Fort Worth, Texas, center. For the analysis reported here, flight intent was not considered and no assessment of flight deviation was conducted since only aircraft tracks were used.

Corresponding author address: Kapil Sheth, NASA Ames Research Center, MS 210-15, Moffett Field, CA 94035. E-mail: kapil.sheth@nasa.gov
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