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Analysis of weather forecast impacts on United States Air Force combat operations [electronic resource] /

by Darnell, Karen M.; School (U.S.), Naval Postgraduate

Abstract (Summary)
Accurate weather forecasts are vital to air combat operations. Quantitative assessments of forecasts and their operational impacts are essential to improving weather support for war fighters. We adapted an existing U.S. Navy, web-based, near-real time system for collecting and analyzing data on the performance and operational impacts of military forecasts. We used the adapted system to collect and analyze data on Air Force Weather (AFW) forecasts, and the planning and execution of flying operations, at six Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces bases. We analyzed the data to develop quantitative metrics of forecast performance and operational impacts. Our results indicate that planning weather forecasts (PWFs) have a higher potential for making positive contributions to air operations than do mission execution forecasts (MEFs). This is notable because AFW units spend significantly less time developing PWFs than MEFs. Surface visibility, cloud ceilings, and cloud layers caused most negative mission impacts, indicating these phenomena should be a focus of future research and training. We found high levels of mission success even when forecasts were inaccurate, perhaps due to aircrew and mission flexibility. Our analyses revealed a need for improved education of flying units on the nature and availability of AFW products.
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School:The United States Naval Postgraduate School

School Location:USA - California

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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