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Naval Oceanography, National Weather Service Streamline Aviation and Maritime Forecasting

09 November 2021

From Jonathan B. Holloway

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and Fleet Weather Centers (FWC), San Diego and Norfolk, implemented advanced software—Automated Weather Interactive Processing System II (AWIPS)—acquired from the National Weather Service (NWS) creating operational advantages for the U.S. Navy Fleet and American aviation industry.

AWIPS processes large data that will significantly decrease time to issue accurate meteorological conditions, or Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF), at airports and airfields within a 24-hour timeframe.
“Before AWIPS, it took forecasters over five-hours to produce and disseminate 14 TAF’s across U.S. Navy Regions Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, now the Navy can perform the same task in less than one-hour,” said Andy Kraft, Maritime Operations Officer at FWC-Norfolk. “AWIPS streamlines aviation and maritime forecasting by compiling all relevant parameters in its system and providing real-time data layered within its model.”

The software has superior monitoring and distribution tools in one program, while displaying high-resolution data from satellites, radar and numerical prediction models for more precise weather forecasts.

The ability to monitor weather conditions with minute-precision allows AWIPS to significantly enhance accuracy of watches, warnings and advisories (WWA), typically considered by airports in departure and arrival of commercial aircraft.

“The ‘Time of Arrival’ tool in AWIPS allows users to click-and-drag from a particular cell of thunderstorms to a defined point, with AWIPS providing an exact distance and arrival time of hazardous weather at that specified point,” said Mr. Richard Engle, Aviation Operations Officer at FWC-Norfolk. “This allows us to issue WWA with greater accuracy, minimizing the amount of time airfields and other infrastructure are impacted by thunderstorm warnings and other watches & warnings.”

AWIPS can also deliver the same cutting-edge forecasting it provides to airfields and airports to U.S. Navy ships and aircraft at-sea.

“It’s instrumental in allowing maritime forecasters to issue more accurate information in a variety of formats, and at greater lead times, for critical decision-makers,” said Mr. Darin Figurskey, Operations Branch Chief at the Ocean Prediction Center, a branch of the National Weather Service.

AWIPS brings automation to this generation of forecast WWAs, allowing forecasters capacity to focus on the weather’s actual impact on Navy operations, or daily life.

“Integrating weather data from a multitude of databases contributes to decrease in time issuance of WWAs, and increases accuracy of products and services across aviation, resource protection, maritime, and tropical cyclone realms,” said Patrick Dixon, Senior Meteorological Officer at FWC-Norfolk. “The value of this system to Naval Oceanography and the Navy will be immediate and will continue to grow as we fully implement and expand the software across our watchfloor.”
U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to make better decisions, based on assured environmental information, faster than the adversary.


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