Ms Sharon Lau, Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, attended the 7th meeting of the World Area Forecast System Operations Group (WAFSOPSG) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at Lima, Peru, between 17-21 September 2012. The meeting reviewed the current operation of the World Area Forecast System (WAFS) and the future development of WAFS. Major outcomes of the meeting included:-
Re-issuance of WAFS forecasts - Currently a text based SIGWX correction message is used to identify errors in SIGWX forecast. For improved service, WAFS SIGWX and gridded data will be re-issued if correction is necessary resulting from errors in the originally issued forecast. Amendments as a result of the atmosphere evolving differently to that originally expected however would not be re-issued.
Removal of trial forecast label from the WAFS gridded data sets for CB clouds, icing and turbulence - In view of the successful harmonization of these forecast from the two WAFS Provider States, and the on-going verification results, as well as the availability of updated guidance material, the group reaffirmed the agreement to remove the trial forecast label from these forecasts. Noting that the verification had only been conducted for a selected portion of the globe, the group requested the WAFS Provider States to expand the verification and develop training material to support the use of these products.
Support for global ATM operational concept - Noting the development of the future global ATM operation concept, ICAO was requested to collaborate with the WAFS Provider States and interested members of the WAFSOPSG on the development of a Concept of Operation for the WAFS that takes into consideration service functions and performance requirements.
The meeting also refused the proposed reinstatement of surface fronts in SIGWX forecast after considering the view of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that there was no demonstrated safety need. While the surface front would not be included in the SIGWX forecast provided by the WAFS Provider States, the Observatory would continue to provide surface front on its medium-level SIGWX chart.