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StormGen: A Proposed Solution to Weather Simulation in NexGen Research  (2012)
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Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) concepts demand that both predicted and observed weather data are assimilated into air traffic management decision making. Consequently, research that evaluates concepts concerning weather decision making in NextGen requires the use of these weather data in the simulation environments. Current sources of real-world 3D convective weather data are often sparse, leave large coverage gaps, and are not constructed to meet specific research and concept evaluation requirements. As a result, there is a strong need for a simple and versatile tool that can be used for generating tailored, yet realistic weather for simulation-based research. StormGen, the software tool showcased in this paper, has been designed to produce convective weather systems for use in NextGen airspace simulations. StormGen provides a graphical user interface for the construction and placement of storm cells anywhere in a simulated contiguous United States airspace. StormGen functions support morphing of storm cells between different sizes, shapes, altitudes, positions, and intensities over time. The produced weather objects can be exported in multiple formats for use by other simulation components, such as the Multi Aircraft Control System (MACS), the Cockpit Situation Display (CSD), and out-the-window flight simulator views. MACS is an emulation and simulation program which provides a small to large scale airspace environment, and air traffic controller (ATC) display, for current and future air traffic operations in the National Airspace System (NAS). CSD is a 2D and 3D volumetric multifunction interface designed to provide flight decks with a 4D depiction of the interrelationships between surrounding traffic, weather, and terrain within the proximate airspace. Both MACS and CSD are able to utilize the dynamically updated weather delivered by StormGen to display 2D weather information, while CSD is also able to display the 3D weather objects created by StormGen, either in 3D perspective views, or by simulating the 2D scans returned by a simulated airborne radar application. The resolution at which the dynamic weather is updated can be determined by the StormGen software, or the simulation environments displaying the weather information. Thus, it can support six-minute display updates similar to Nexrad, or the virtually continuous display updates found with airborne radars. Finally, depending on the scope and purpose of the simulation environment, the exported weather objects can be used to integrate and simulate the display of predicted (forecast) weather information. This capability is important for the development and evaluation of technologies proposed to utilize such predicted information. There are multiple proposed and planned improvements to StormGen, which would improve the realism of generated weather objects. For example, StormGen presently has a simplistic wind capability that is reflected in the temporal movement of storm cells. Ideally, the editor would support the creation and exporting of wind fields. It would also be advantageous to use publicly available images from ground-based weather radar for the creation of storm systems in StormGen. We envision StormGen to be a continually evolving tool for generating convective weather systems for simulation research in NextGen environments.
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NexGen, Proposed, Research, Simulation, Solution, StormGen, Weather
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Proceedings from the 1st Annual Conference on Human Factors in Transportation
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Adobe PDF Icon  StormGenAProposed_2012.pdf (Download Acrobat Reader Click to download Adobe Acrabat Reader)
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Alonso Vera
Last Updated: August 15, 2019