ESRL Global Systems Division

Decision Aid Tool Helps Fort Worth Center Weather Service Unit Recommend Action

In a recent outbreak of thunderstorms in the Fort Worth, Texas area, tools developed at ESRL's Global Systems Division provided needed and useful information for the safety of air travelers through that region. Tom Amis, the Meteorologist in Charge at the Fort Worth Center Weather Service Unit commends ESRL's Tactical Decision Aid for Terminal TRACON Ops Website for aiding him to direct air traffic during the development of thunderstorms on April 24, 2007. As he put it, "Your site [developed by the Aviation Systems Development and Deployment section of the Aviation Branch at ESRL's Global Systems Division] was a big hit yesterday in planning for our traffic management units. By using the forecast data, we were able to time when we were going to need to shut down arrivals and move traffic flows to different locations and arrival gates." Shown here are two examples of the Weather Information Decision Aids (WIDA) available to CWSU forecasters at this Website.

convection impact on
departure routes
DFW departure routes affected by convective weather.

weather affecting jet
South Central jet routes affected by convective weather.

Amis used WIDA to determine when their west- and north-bound departures would be shut off. The WIDA project, funded by the FAA's Aviation Weather Research Program, develops the capabilities displayed on the above-mentioned Website. Amis explained, "We used WIDA over 15 times to explain to Operations Supervisors in Charge how the thunderstorms were expected to continue to develop and move through our airspace impacting our traffic flows and individual air traffic sectors. WIDA gave us the visualization capability to effectively communicate a consistent and relevant weather picture to our customer."

The Aviation Branch of ESRL's Global Systems Division collaborates with the FAA, the National Weather Service, and the Department of Transportation. These collaborations result in improved weather forecasting and visualization capability for use by forecasters, air traffic controllers, air traffic managers, airline dispatchers, and general aviation pilots.

This is an example of how NOAA implements a sophisticated assessment and prediction tool to support decisions in the aviation sector, fulfilling our mission goal to "Support the Nation's commerce with information for safe, efficient, and environmentally sound transportation."

Contact information
Name: Michael Kraus
Tel: 303-497-5200