SFO Marine Stratus Forecast System Documentation


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Project Report ATC-319
SFO Marine Stratus Forecast System Documentation

Lincoln Laboratory
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
LEXINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS

D.A. Clark C.F. Ivaldi F.M. Robasky K. MacKenzie R.G. Hallowell F.W. Wilson D.M. Sinton
17 October 2006

Prepared for the Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C. 20591
This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof.

1. Report No. ATC-319
4. Title and Subtitle SFO Marine Stratus Forecast System

2. Government Accession No.

TECHNICAL REPORT STANDARD TITLE PAGE 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
5. Report Date 17 October 2006
6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s) D.A. Clark, C.F. Ivaldi, F.M. Robasky, K. MacKenzie, R.G. Hallowell, F.W.Wilson, and D.M. Sinton 9. Performing Organization Name and Address
MIT Lincoln Laboratory 244 Wood Street Lexington, MA 02420-9108
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration 800 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, DC 20591
15. Supplementary Notes

8. Performing Organization Report No. ATC-319
10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No. FA8721-05-C-0002
13. Type of Report and Period Covered Project Report
14. Sponsoring Agency Code

This report is based on studies performed at Lincoln Laboratory, a center for research operated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, under Air Force Contract FA8721-05-C-0002.

16. Abstract

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) experiences frequent low ceiling conditions during the summer season due to marine stratus clouds. Stratus in the approach zone prevents dual approaches to the airport’s closely spaced parallel runways, effectively reducing arrival capacity by half. The stratus typically behaves on a daily cycle, with dissipation occurring during the hours following sunrise. Often the low ceiling conditions persist throughout the morning hours and interfere with the high rate of air traffic scheduled into SFO from mid-morning to early afternoon. Air traffic managers require accurate forecasts of clearing time to efficiently administer Ground Delay Programs (GDPs) to match the rate of arriving aircraft with expected capacity.
The San Francisco Marine Stratus Forecast System was developed as a tool for anticipating the time of stratus clearing. The system relies on field-deployed sensors as well as routinely available regional surface observations and satellite data from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-West). Data are collected, processed, and input to a suite of forecast models to predict the time that the approach zone will be sufficiently clear to perform dual approaches. Data observations and model forecasts are delivered to users on an interactive display accessible via the Internet.
The system prototype was developed under the sponsorship of the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP). MIT Lincoln Laboratory served as technical lead for the project, in collaboration with San Jose State University, the University of Quebec at Montreal, and the Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) at the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). The National Weather Service (NWS), under the direction of the NWS Forecast Office in Monterey, assumed responsibility for operation and maintenance of the system following technical transfer in 2004. This document was compiled as a resource to support continuing system operation and maintenance.

17. Key Words

18. Distribution Statement

San Francisco, marine stratus, low ceiling, dual approaches, air traffic managers, ground delay programs, forecast models, Center Weather Service Unit, NWS Monterey

This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report) Unclassified
FORM DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)

20. Security Classif. (of this page) Unclassified
Reproduction of completed page authorized

21. No. of Pages 466

22. Price

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Of the dozens of individuals who participated in the system development process over the years, the authors would like to specifically acknowledge the contributions made by the Department of Meteorology at San Jose State University and the National Weather Service. The SJSU Department of Meteorology effectively served as the field site team. We thank Peter Lester for initiating the department’s role in the project. Special thanks go to Doug Sinton for his leadership role and contribution to the technical effort, particularly in the areas of data acquisition & handling, communications, and system performance monitoring. Thanks also go to John Farley, who took primary responsibility for ensuring reliable operation of the weather sensors at the two field sites. The stability and success of the project was largely dependent upon the perseverance and personal commitment exhibited by both Doug and John. We are grateful to the National Weather Service for their partnership in the project, both in the development process and ultimately in ensuring the continued operation of the system. First, we thank Walt Strach who was the primary operational community representative on the scientific team. Second, thanks go to Curt Lutz and Wayne Bailey for their efforts during the technical transfer process. And finally, we are especially grateful to Dave Reynolds for his early support while the project was being established, and for ultimately leading the effort to ensure that the prototype continued on as an operational system.
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ABSTRACT
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) experiences frequent low ceiling conditions during the summer season due to marine stratus clouds. Stratus in the approach zone prevents dual approaches to the airport’s closely spaced parallel runways, effectively reducing arrival capacity by half. The stratus typically behaves on a daily cycle, with dissipation occurring during the hours following sunrise. Often the low ceiling conditions persist throughout the morning hours and interfere with the high rate of air traffic scheduled into SFO from mid-morning to early afternoon. Air traffic managers require accurate forecasts of clearing time to efficiently administer Ground Delay Programs (GDPs) to match the rate of arriving aircraft with expected capacity. The San Francisco Marine Stratus Forecast System was developed as a tool for anticipating the time of stratus clearing. The system relies on field-deployed sensors as well as routinely available regional surface observations and satellite data from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-West). Data are collected, processed, and input to a suite of forecast models to predict the time that the approach zone will be sufficiently clear to perform dual approaches. Data observations and model forecasts are delivered to users on an interactive display accessible via the Internet. The system prototype was developed under the sponsorship of the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP). MIT Lincoln Laboratory served as technical lead for the project, in collaboration with San Jose State University, the University of Quebec at Montreal, and the Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) at the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). The National Weather Service (NWS), under the direction of the NWS Forecast Office in Monterey, assumed responsibility for operation and maintenance of the system following technical transfer in 2004. This document was compiled as a resource to support continuing system operation and maintenance.
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MASTER GLOSSARY

AC AZ ACV ARTCC AWRP AWOS BKN CFA CLR COBEL CWSU DCP DPA FA FAA GMT GOES ITWS LAN LCL LSFM MIT/LL MSF NAM NRL NWS NWSFO OAK OVC PGAM PPP RSFM SCT SFM SFO SMB SODAR SQL SQLL SSFM UQAM

Approach Clear Approach Zone Arcata Air Route Traffic Control Center Aviation Weather Research Program Automated Weather Observing System Broken Consensus Forecast Algorithm Clear Couche Brouillard Eau Liquide Central Weather Service Unit Data Collection Platform Dual Parallel Approaches Free Atmosphere Federal Aviation Administration Greenwich Mean Time Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Integrated Terminal Weather System Local Area Network Lifted Condensation Level Local Statistical Forecast Model Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory Marine Stratus Forecast North American Model Naval Research Laboratory National Weather Service National Weather Service Forecast Office Oakland Overcast Pre-scaled Generalized Additive Modeling Point to Point Protocol Regional Statistical Forecast Model Scattered Statistical Forecast Model San Francisco International Airport San Mateo Bridge Sonic Detection and Range San Carlos Airport San Carlos High Resolution Sensor Satellite Statistical Forecast Model University of Quebec at Montreal

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SFO Marine Stratus Forecast System Documentation