The Gust-Front Detection and Wind-Shift Algorithms for the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar System

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  • 1 NOAA/ERL, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 2 NOAA/NWS, Operational Support Facility, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 3 Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lexington, Massachusetts
  • | 4 NOAA/ERL, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 5 NOAA/ERL, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 6 NOAA/ERL, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

The Federal Aviation Administration's Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) system was primarily designed to address the operational needs of pilots in the avoidance of low-altitude wind shears upon takeoff and landing at airports. One of the primary methods of wind-shear detection for the TDWR system is the gust-front detection algorithm. The algorithm is designed to detect gust fronts that produce a wind-shear hazard and/or sustained wind shifts. It serves the hazard warning function by providing an estimate of the wind-speed gain for aircraft penetrating the gust front. The gust-front detection and wind-shift algorithms together serve a planning function by providing forecasted gust-front locations and estimates of the horizontal wind vector behind the front, respectively. This information is used by air traffic managers to determine arrival and departure runway configurations and aircraft movements to minimize the impact of wind shifts on airport capacity.

This paper describes the gust-front detection and wind-shift algorithms to be fielded in the initial TDWR systems. Results of a quantitative performance evaluation using Doppler radar data collected during TDWR operational demonstrations at the Denver, Kansas City, and Orlando airports are presented. The algorithms were found to be operationally useful by the FAA airport controllers and supervisors.

Abstract

The Federal Aviation Administration's Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) system was primarily designed to address the operational needs of pilots in the avoidance of low-altitude wind shears upon takeoff and landing at airports. One of the primary methods of wind-shear detection for the TDWR system is the gust-front detection algorithm. The algorithm is designed to detect gust fronts that produce a wind-shear hazard and/or sustained wind shifts. It serves the hazard warning function by providing an estimate of the wind-speed gain for aircraft penetrating the gust front. The gust-front detection and wind-shift algorithms together serve a planning function by providing forecasted gust-front locations and estimates of the horizontal wind vector behind the front, respectively. This information is used by air traffic managers to determine arrival and departure runway configurations and aircraft movements to minimize the impact of wind shifts on airport capacity.

This paper describes the gust-front detection and wind-shift algorithms to be fielded in the initial TDWR systems. Results of a quantitative performance evaluation using Doppler radar data collected during TDWR operational demonstrations at the Denver, Kansas City, and Orlando airports are presented. The algorithms were found to be operationally useful by the FAA airport controllers and supervisors.

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