Forecast Impact and Quality Assessment Services Branch
The Forecast Impact and Quality Assessment Services (FIQAS) Branch develops state-of-the-art environmental forecast, decision support, visualization, and evaluation capabilities to provide scientifically robust forecast assessment tools, concepts, and analyses to support the weather decision-making process. Our mission is to advance the understanding and use of weather information through impact-based forecast assessments and targeted real-time information delivery to benefit decision-making in response to high impact weather events.
The team accomplishes this mission by completing verification assessments of meteorological output and developing state-of-the-art decision support software tools. FIQAS is an interdisciplinary team of meteorologists, physicists, mathematicians, and software engineers. The group is currently involved in projects dealing with aviation weather, boundary layer meteorology, energy transmission, and innovating decision support services.
The FIQAS team provides independent, impact-based verification of meteorological output. FIQAS has completed a number of assessments for the FAA to verify the performance of algorithms that specify and predict aviation hazards such as turbulence, icing, convection, and low ceilings and visibility. These verification assessments connect the quality of the forecasts to the application of weather information to specific operational decisions. The assessments are backed by basic research in verification techniques, with recent work focusing on neighborhood verification, rare event methods, and investigations into new data sets.
In addition to assessments, FIQAS has also built a number of tools that provide verification statistics on forecast performance. The Verification and Requirements Monitoring Capability (VRMC) provides an ongoing historical performance record of forecast quality as a baseline for evaluating advancements in aviation weather forecast products. The VRMC includes verification statistics on the icing, turbulence, and ceiling/visibility algorithms. The tool supports the team’s in-depth forecast assessments, both in developing and testing new innovative verification methodologies and for providing an easy-to-use capability for scientific analysis.
FIQAS has also created the INtegrated Support for Impacted air Traffic Environments (INSITE) tool, which provides a weather decision service for common situational awareness and forecast preparation for in-route air traffic. INSITE provides the forecaster with an objective measure to select the best model for forecasting convection that will impact the National Airspace System. Additionally, it provides a historic look-back capability to evaluate past forecasts.
Complimentary to INSITE, is the Convective Weather Verification Service (CWVS) tool, which is part of the Verification Services for Aviation Forecast Evaluation (VSAFE) package. CWVS provides impact-based verification of the Traffic Flow Management Convective Forecast (TCF). Other tools in the VSAFE package include the Center Weather Service Unit Briefing and Verification Tool (CBVT), the TRACON Gate Forecast Verification Tool (TFVT), and Event-based Verification and Evaluation of National Weather Service Gridded Products (EVENT) tool.