ESRL Global Systems Division


The NextGen Program Development and Management Section manages GSD’s work on the FAA's Common Support Services - Weather (CSS-Wx) project.  This work is conducted with development partners including MIT Lincoln Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center.

About CSS-Wx:

The basic tenets for NextGen aviation weather have been identified in the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) document Four-Dimensional Weather Functional Requirements for NextGen Air Traffic Management:

  • Common weather picture (via the 4-D Weather Cube)
  • Network-enabled operations that will enable flexible and efficient access to weather information
  • Integration of weather information into automated and human-related decision support tools

The CSS-Wx Program is building capability that will enable FAA to disseminate to its users weather information from the NWS's 4D Weather Cube. This information will be a single, comprehensive picture of current weather to a wide variety of users--each of which may be using unique or proprietary software to read and interpret the Cube's data.  The Cube will be built using Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)--a design model that allows users to plug their software clients into the Cube's data stream, regardless of which operating systems they are using.

Although the CSS-Wx Program will provide basic reference software as examples of how software clients can make use of the Cube’s data, it will not develop a definitive user interface for accessing and parsing the Cube's data.  Rather, the Cube will provide: 1) output information in standard formats; and 2) documentation to create custom software that adheres to those standards.  CSS-Wx is working with international standards bodies to extend those standards as necessary to handle weather information.

By building its software in discrete components, CSS-Wx will be able to handle potential shifts in technology, or changes in the scientific approaches and techniques for gathering and distributing weather data.  The Cube will also maintain flexible security standards that can easily adapt to changes.