NextGen Weather Processor (NWP) products are divided into four main categories:
- Mosaic products combine similar products from multiple data sources.
- Analysis products implement algorithms using past and current data to generate products that depict current weather conditions.
- Predictive products implement algorithms using past and current products as well as NOAA numerical weather forecasts to generate products that predict future flight-impacting conditions.
- Translation products convert weather information into weather avoidance products.
Air traffic controllers must be confident the weather they see on their scopes matches what the pilot is encountering in the air. NWP's radar volume products update rapidly, and its multi-radar mosaics are time-synchronized. For the first time, controllers' scopes will show storms without distortion in the correct location at all times. In addition to the contiguous United States (CONUS), NWP's extended coverage domain includes areas covered by radars in Canada and Puerto Rico. Domains for Alaska, Hawaii and Guam are included as well.
NWP's aviation-specific analysis products, based primarily on Doppler radar data, are important to pilots, controllers and traffic flow managers. Terminal safety products detect hazards such as microbursts and gust fronts, and provide runway-specific configured wind shear alerts. The NWP growth trends product highlights rapidly growing convection that is unsafe to fly over although the storm intensity may still be weak. Grids and profiles of winds from the surface up to 18,000 feet update every 5 minutes in key terminal areas.
Aviation users have asked for "radar-forward" predictive products that appear to extend a loop of past radar detections into the future. The NWP generates this look-ahead to 8 hours for precipitation and echo tops. An accuracy score is provided for 0-2 hour lead times, and a confidence metric is provided for lead times out to 8 hours. These indicators help users gauge storm likelihood and strategies for developing traffic management initiatives. Pass-through products from the National Weather Service such as icing, turbulence and fronts are also integrated for display.
NWP radar mosaics and predictive products are translated into altitude-dependent airspace impact areas, with a quantitative probability assessment of pilot deviation likelihood called Convective Weather Avoidance Fields. This high resolution information is precisely what is needed to predict route blockage and airspace capacity impacts up to 8 hours in advance. The Convective Weather Avoidance Polygons provide fly and no-fly zones for display, essentially 8-hour predictions of flow constrained areas.