New weather forecasting aid


  • Anonymous


A new, computerized weather analysis and display system developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is being used to provide air traffic controllers in Colorado with up-to-date information on weather systems that could affect aircraft within their control areas. The system, called PROFS (Prototype Regional Observing and Forecasting Services), was under development for four years at NOAA's Environmental Research Laboratories in Boulder, and is undergoing operational evaluation at the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center in Longmont, Colo. FAA officials see the new system as a first step in upgrading the weather support services for the nation's air traffic control system. Originally created to help National Weather Service personnel with their forecasting duties (Eos, April 13, 1982, p. 233), the PROFS system was specially tailored for aviation use before being installed at the Longmont center. The system uses computers to process weather data from satellites, regional radar, wind profilers, a network of automated weather stations in eastern Colorado, and other sources, some of which are not normally available to forecasters. When this information is collected and formatted, weather personnel at the center can choose from several types of visual display on their terminals, depending on what information they require. The forecasters can then make printed copies of any display and distribute them within moments to controllers who use the information to alert air traffic to storms, wind shifts, and other weather disturbances.