Optimizing METAR Network Design for Verification of Cloud Ceiling Height and Visibility Forecasts

Eric Gilleland
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Research Applications Program
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Email: ericg@ucar.edu

Abstract
Methods are given and explored for thinning METAR stations in order to make more meaningful verification analyses of cloud ceiling and visibility forecasts for use within the general aviation com- munity. Verification of these forecasts is performed based on data from surface METAR stations, which for some areas are densely located and others only sparsely located. Forecasts, which are made over an entire grid, may be awarded or penalized multiple times for a correct or incorrect forecast if there are many METAR stations situated closely together. A coverage design technique in conjunction with a percent of agreement analysis is used to find an “optimal” network design in order to better score forecasts over densely located regions. Preliminary results for a network of 104 monitors in the New England area suggest that the removal of some stations is appropriate.

Keywords: cloud celing height, visibility, verification, coverage design

In: McRoberts, R. et al. (eds).  Proceedings of the joint meeting of The 6th International Symposium On Spatial Accuracy Assessment In Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and The 15th Annual Conference of The International Environmetrics Society, June 28 – July 1 2004, Portland, Maine, USA.

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