Aviation Weather Research Program

The FAA Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) researches applied weather to minimize the impact of weather on the National Airspace System (NAS).

The research goal is to transition new or improved weather capabilities into evolving air traffic management decision support systems, incorporate them into the National Weather Service (NWS), or both to improve the delivery of FAA-required services and enhance aviation safety and efficiency.

AWRP initiatives consist of the following:

  • Meeting specific weather information needs by stakeholders and NAS users
  • Mitigating weather-related safety and efficiency issues with a line of sight to operations
  • Evolving weather information required today in legacy capabilities to meet emerging needs, often in collaboration with the NWS

AWRP research areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Turbulence
  • In-flight icing
  • Convective weather
  • Ceiling and visibility (C&V)
  • Advanced weather radar techniques
  • Weather prediction model development and enhancement
  • Space weather
  • Climate change and impacts to aviation weather

The FAA collaborates with the NWS via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NWS Aviation Weather Center Web Portal to provide fast, reliable access to advanced weather products and flight planning tools, including forecast products sponsored by the AWRP. A broad community of users, including pilots, dispatchers, and Flight Service Station briefers account for more than 10 million hits per day on this web portal. The FAA also collaborates with the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) through the Advanced Weather Radar Techniques (AWRT) program. The FAA funded-aviation weather research products are tested on NOAA NSSL’s developmental Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) product viewer before implementation into the operational MRMS system.

Graphical Turbulence Guidance

Graphical Turbulence Guidance tool screenshot
Graphical Turbulence Guidance produces an automated forecast of turbulence location and intensity for use in flight planning.

Forecast Icing Product

Forecast Icing Product tool screenshot
The Forecast Icing Product produces an automated forecast of icing intensity and probability for use in flight planning.

Helicopter Emergency Medical
Services (HEMS) Tool

Helicopter Emergency Medical Services tool screenshot
The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services Tool includes a C&V analysis and hourly forecasts of C&V out to 6 hours, along with other critical weather information in an interactive map display.

Offshore Precipitation Capability
The FAA's Non-Radar Weather Radar

Offshore Precipitation Capability tool screenshot
The Offshore Precipitation Capability (OPC) blends lightning data, satellite imagery, and weather model data using machine learning to produce an estimate of precipitation for areas that lack radar coverage. OPC is merged with the CONUS radar mosaic to provide controllers with better situational awareness for offshore sectors.

AWRP History

The following indicate the various successes throughout the history of AWRP.

Rapid Update Cycle screenshot

Rapid Update Cycle (RUC)

  • 1998: 40KM
  • 2002: 20KM
  • 2005: 13KM
Icing forecasts screenshot

Icing forecasts

  • 2002: Current Icing Product (CIP)
  • 2004: Forecast Icing Product (FIP)
  • 2011: FIP Severity
  • 2012: CIP/FIP Rapid Refresh (RAP)
web-based products screenshot

Web-based products

  • 2003 Aviation Digital Data Services (ADDS)
  • 2016: aviationweather.gov
turbulence forecasts screenshots

Turbulence forecasts

  • 2003: GTG
  • 2010: GTG2 (Mid-Levels)
  • 2015: GTG3 (MtnWv & Low Level)
  • 2019: GTG-N (Pseudo-operational)
HEMS screenshot

Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) Tool and the National Ceiling and Visibility Analysis (NCVA)

  • 2007: Experimental ADDS
  • 2015: Operational ADDS
  • 2020: HEMS Upgrade
CoSPA screenshot

Consolidated Storm Prediction for Aviation (CoSPA), 0-8 hour high resolution storm prediction

  • 2010: Live demo
  • 2012: Transition to ATO
RAP screenshot


  • 2012
  • Updated 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020
HRRR Screenshot

High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR)

  • 2014
  • Updated 2016, 2018, 2020
MRMS Screenshot

Multi-Radar, Multi-Sensor (MRMS)

  • 2014
  • Updated 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022
OPC Screenshot

Offshore Precipitation Capability (OPC)

  • 2017
  • 2021: Forecast capability, domain expansion
epoch screenshot

Ensemble prediction of oceanic convective hazards (EPOCH)

  • 2023
VEIA Screenshot

Visibility Estimation through Image Analytics (VEIA)

  • 2020: Live demo
  • 2022: Transition to weather camera program
RTMA Screenshot

RTMA Rapid Update for C&V

  • 2017: Initial release (v2.6)
  • 2018: Upgrades (v2.7)
  • 2020: Upgrades (v2.8)
LAMP screenshot

Localized aviation model output statistics program (LAMP) C&V upgrades

  • 2017: v2
  • 2018-2011: v2.1 – v2.3
JAWS Screenshot

Juneau airport wind system (JAWS)

  • 2007: Prototype
  • 2012: Operational
ROMIO example

Remote oceanic meteorology information operational (ROMIO)

  • 2022

Supplemental AWRP Materials

AWRP Featured Articles

The following publications highlight the accomplishments of the AWRP research meteorologists and engineers:

  • The General Aviation News article, “New visibility tool in the works for FAA weather camera program,” spotlights the Visibility Estimation through Image Analytics (VEIA) algorithm and supporting Weather Camera program led by FAA engineer Jenny Colavito. 5/2023
  • The FocusFAA article, “Experiment ices award for aviation weather team,” highlights the Inflight Icing project lead, Danny Sims, and the FAA-led In-Cloud Icing and Large-drop Experiment (ICICLE). 3/2023
  • The FAA Safety Briefing article, “New Visibility Estimation Tool Coming Soon,” features Ceiling and Visibility project lead, Jenny Colavito, and the new Visibility Estimation through Image Analytics (VEIA) algorithm. 3/2023
  • The Vertical Magazine article, “New technology to enhance FAA weather camera program,” features FAA Engineer and Ceiling & Visibility lead Jenny Colavito and the Visibility Estimation through Image Analytics (VEIA) algorithm. 3/2023
  • The Vertical Magazine article, "Forecasting Bumpy Skies” discusses the advanced turbulence weather tools in existence and on the horizon to support aviation. FAA turbulence project lead and acting Weather Research Branch manager, Tammy Flowe, has been a significant provider in the development of these tools and is mentioned throughout the article. 12/2022
Last updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2024