Section 26. Weather Management
This section prescribes policy and responsibilities to ensure required weather products and services are provided in a timely manner.
The FAA (AJR) maintains an Inter-Agency Agreement (IA) with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service (NWS) for the provision of meteorological services to FAA facilities and specifies assignment of NWS meteorologists to the ATCSCC and to each ARTCC. The meteorologists provide ATC operational personnel advised of weather conditions that may be hazardous to aviation or impede the flow of air traffic in the NAS sixteen hours a day/seven days a week. Specific duties of the meteorologists are outlined below in paragraph 18-26-4 for FAA personnel awareness. Additional details can be found in the IA Statement of Work (SOW) and NWS Instruction 10-803, Support to Air Traffic Control Facilities.
Facility managers will designate an operational ATC representative to serve as the Weather Coordinator (WC). The WC position is required for all shifts and is the primary interface between the NWS meteorologist and the facilities air traffic staff. The WC position is located in the TMU of each ARTCC. This position is a 24 hour position and can be combined with the OMIC when there are no TMU personnel present. All personnel assigned to this function must receive training for the associated responsibilities. If weather conditions warrant and workload permits, the WC may perform other operational or administrative functions.
- Facility Managers must:
- Have operational responsibility for the NWS meteorologists although responsibility for day to day activities can be delegated to the TMO. For example, if weather conditions warrant that the CWSU staff needed to be continued beyond the typical 16 hour day, the TMO could approve this.
- Work with the local NWS Meteorologist-in-Charge (MIC) to ensure local orders and procedures define the NWS support expected and that compliance in the provision of the support is attained.
- Ensure NWS meteorologists receive facility and air traffic control system familiarization training, as appropriate.
- Forward any unresolved issues with NWS support to the appropriate Service Area and the FAA COTR for the IA.
- Maintain a copy of the current IA and SOW.
- The Weather Coordinator must:
- Disseminate inter/intrafacility SIGMETs, AIRMETs (except over CONUS), CWAs, urgent PIREPs (UUA), and routine PIREPs (UA).
- Provide assistance in the collection and dissemination of other significant weather information. WC priority of duties and responsibilities include:
- Inter/intrafacility dissemination of SIGMETs.
- Dissemination of CWAs within the ARTCC.
- Dissemination of urgent PIREPs within the ARTCC.
- Dissemination of CWAs to other facilities (via other than LSAS).
- Dissemination of AIRMETs within the ARTCC.
- Inter/intrafacility dissemination of Meteorological Impact Statements as required (via other than LSAS).
- Dissemination of other weather intelligence within the ARTCC as specified by local requirements.
- Receipt and handling of requests for PIREP/SIGMET/AIRMET/CWAs and other pertinent weather information.
- NWS meteorologists' duties include:
- Provide meteorological advice and consultation to ARTCC operational personnel and other designated FAA air traffic facilities, terminal, and FSS, within the ARTCC area of responsibility.
- Provide scheduled and unscheduled briefings and products as needed per the IA SOW, NWS Instruction 10-803, and the operational direction of the Facility Manager. Examples include:
- Scheduled Briefings generally consist of forecast weather conditions pertinent to the ARTCC area during a specified period, plus an extended outlook. These briefings are scheduled and provided as required by the facility manager.
- Unscheduled products include the Meteorological Impact Statement (MIS) which is an unscheduled planning forecast describing conditions expected to begin within 4 to 12 hours which will, in the forecaster's judgment, impact the flow of air traffic within the ARTCC's area of responsibility and the Center Weather Advisory (CWA) which is an unscheduled air traffic and aircrew advisory statement for conditions currently in existence or beginning within the next 2 (two) hours.
- The MIC will work with the Facility Manager to ensure local orders and procedures define the NWS support expected, to include operating hours. The MIC will also ensure back-up support plans are in place when and if the meteorologists at the center are not available.