COMET develops effective simulations based on operationally significant case studies that allow learners to practice forecasting decisions in a safe environment. The simulator in this lesson includes a timed release of products, both to mimic the evolving weather situation and to urge forecasters to make timely decisions to support customers. Occasional distractions can be included to model the interruptions forecasters might encounter during a shift.
In the following section of this case, you will have to either prepare to write the next TAF that is due between 2320 and 2340Z, or amend your inherited TAF.
Through a case simulator, you will experience the data in real-time or faster, depending on your chosen Time Modifier settings. The controls along the top of the image viewer let you select which image is shown and house the Simulation Clock (for new data flow). If you choose to watch the case in real-time (1x Time Modifier), the case will take 30 minutes to view. If you would like to increase the speed (up to 5x), you can view the case 5 times faster. You can change the passage of time at any point and even pause it if necessary. The most realistic simulation/learning experience would be to set the time modifier to 1x.
At the bottom of the simulator, you can control the available loops (stop, play/pause, step backward, step forward, decrease looping speed, increase looping speed). As new data products arrive they are automatically loaded into the loop. The currently selected time is kept when switching between products to help you easily compare data.
Decide if there is a time when you should change the SDF TAF. In the upper-right corner, there is a text-field and a “Submit TAF” button where you can adjust and submit your TAF for dissemination.
You may find that the simulation is interrupted by real-life distractors, such as questions or information from other forecasters or service offices, or calls from customers, to help you evaluate your decisions. These are intentional to model the interruptions you might encounter on the forecast desk.
Click the clock to start/pause time
Wall Clock Speed:
Do you believe there will be aviation impacts at SDF?
Below you will be able to select the impacts you feel will occur at SDF. The question lies with whether the outflow’s cold pool-environment balance will be maintained or not through the vicinity of SDF. This is a very hard parameter to assess. Consider if there are ways to understand that vorticity balance across the cold pool beforehand. Are you able to be proactive or is it only a reactive possibility for identifying MCS cessation due to outflow acceleration ahead of the convective line?
On the other hand, are you capturing the mesoscale post-storm environment and its return to synoptic (pre- or post- depending on your selection previously) conditions? How long would those effects last after the convective line passes through? When will the airport be able to return to normal operations? Think about your user’s concerns when writing up these TAFs for the post-convective environment.
You may want to reconsider this decision as it looks like this MCS will maintain strength into the evening based on the surface dewpoints, the low-level jet, as well as the NWP-derived instability. You should review those parameters and consider how you should change the TAFs again. Consider especially the timing of the mesoscale post-storm environmental factors that we often ignore in writing our TAFs. When will they pass through the airport and when will the airport be able to return to normal operations?
Revise your TAF.
If you thought that you would just update the TAF during the next update cycle (only approximately 10-20 minutes away), you should thoroughly consider the needs of your airport customers. The longer duration of time they have to adjust their flight plans, the better, so giving flight crews/airlines the extra 10-20 minutes is a benefit to them so they can consider fuel needs. Decisions like this are critical to these users and giving them more time to take action on forecasts gives them greater efficiency and helps them have more confidence in your forecasts. The aftermath of the convection is just as important for fuel loads and costs in these events as well. When will the airport conditions return to normal operations?
Below you can select the impacts you feel will occur at SDF. Continue to the next question.
There is evidence in these observations and forecasts that you have enough information to make this call one way or the other. Continue through the exercise to see what you may have missed and consider how you can adjust your TAF for the movement and/or cessation of normal airport operations.
What do you believe the impacts will be at SDF? Select ALL that apply.
Hopefully you thought about the cessation of the system in your thought process here, not just the leading edge of the convection. Let’s explore how the convection will play out and its impacts at more than just the convective line in the next section.
Due to the storm type you are dealing with in this situation, what other considerations would you need to make when writing your TAF for post-storm environments?
When dealing with MCSs, both rear-inflow jets and the track of the meso-high play a major role in the TAF outcomes. The rear-inflow jet is the more obvious hazard, but the track of the meso-high is important to consider for varying winds over time and its progression past your airport could make mesoscale-turbulent conditions last for longer than you might expect. How could you track the meso-high? How does a meso-high change with mature versus decaying systems? What will the shape of this system be if/when it arrives at SDF? How will that shape affect the shape of the meso-high? Maybe you have already been thinking this through...