Eliminating the Meteorologist

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Automated weather systems have greatly enhanced our weather data collection but a new system is proving to outdo humans and other forecast models as well. Last week, Harris Corporation unveiled a fuzzy logic-based system for automated, short-term ceiling and visibility forecasts. The announcement was part of the product demonstrations during the Air Traffic Control Association's (ATCA's) 48th Annual International Technical Program and Exhibits, held Oct. 26-30, in Washington, D.C. Harris claims its forecast-system prototype is designed to produce automated ceiling, visibility, wind and weather forecasts for 465 terminal locations in the continental United States. Harris claims these forecasts, which are generated upon arrival of each new METAR, are more accurate than the numerical models and other assets of the official National Weather Service forecasts. Harris is also demonstrating a prototype tool for automated forecasts of thunderstorm potential. In addition to the forecasting units, Harris -- the prime contractor for the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure program -- will provide improved telecommunications services to more than 5,000 FAA facilities nationwide.