Monthly Archives: April 2017

LAMP Looks Ahead With Sensible Aviation Weather Elements at Over 1,500 Airports

Most pilots are dedicated aviation weather geeks because, at the least, their lives, and those of their passengers depend on the crew’s current knowledge of what Mother Nature is doing at Chicago Executive Airport, the flight’s destination, and everything between them. To the list of the weather information sources that pilots frequent, the National Weather Service has added LAMP, for Localized Aviation Model-Output-Statistics (MOS) Program.

In other words, LAMP focuses on more than 1,500 airports (including Chicago Executive) and provides forecast guidance on “sensible weather elements.” Sensible means they are “perceivable elements” of weather, such as temperature, dew point, wind speed, direction, and gusts, sky cover, ceiling, visibility, obstruction to vision, precipitation and type, lightning, and convective activity. And as the capture from the PWK page shows, pilots can select the sensible elements they want to see. They can also get the same info in text form, if they are so inclined.

What makes LAMP a worthwhile weather product addition to any pilot’s weather briefing resources is that it is totally automated. On the downside, it might not be as accurate as a forecast tweaked by a human meteorologist, but the LAMP graphic is updated hourly. This hourly update incorporates the latest surface conditions to create hourly forecasts that look up to 25 hours into the future. Regardless of who or what is predicting the weather, no source is 100 percent, so LAMP pairs nicely with human-involved weather products such as a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF).

At each airport’s LAMP page pilots can access fresh forecast info for the next 24 hours. The page delivers both “categorical and probabilistic forecast guidance” on the given elements, and using the selection click-boxes at the top of the page, pilots can extract the information they want. When selecting the ceiling and visibility category forecast, it includes a “conditional forecast” that takes precipitation into account. “This data attempts to account for some of the temporary fluctuations that occur in flight.”

To learn more about the LAMP, visit its homepage on the Meteorological Development Lab.

Avoid Convective Weather With New Aviation Weather Center Forecast

Knowing what Mother Nature has in store is critical for pilots planning a cross-county flight. Generally, this research starts with the big picture, with specific interest in areas of convective activity such as thunderstorms between Chicago Executive Airport and their destination. The Aviation Weather Center has made this big-picture easier to grasp with its TFM Convective Forecast (TCF).

The forecast is a collaborative effort that creates a high-confidence representation of convective activity for those making traffic flow decisions. But pilots should find looking at it beneficial because they can see how Mother Nature might affect their cross-country flights out of Chicago Exec.

Available for this year’s convective weather season, which runs from March 1 through October, the TCF is the result of the two-year Collaborated Aviation Weather Statement (CAWS) demonstration. (An auto-TCF begins in November 2017 and runs through March 2018.) Succinctly, the TCF is an agreed upon forecast, compiled from a variety of weather sources, for use by all traffic flow managers.

Collaborated between the National Weather Service and industry meteorologists and available online at www.aviationweather.gov/tcf, the TCF is issued every 2 hours, with 4, 6, and 8-hour forecast projections 24/7. All areas depicted on the graphics will be “high confidence,” meaning meteorologists are better than 50 percent sure of it. TCF graphically indicates convective coverage. Tops of the convective activity are given in 5,000-foot increments starting at 25,000 feet and extending above 40,000 for you high flyers.

TCF is the primary convective guidance traffic flow managers use to plan their efforts to safely and efficiently guide rivers of airplanes across the country. If you’re interested in more information about TCF or Traffic Flow Management, visit its online Learning Center.